Articles | Volume 16, issue 2
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 16, 333–350, 2009
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-16-333-2009
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 16, 333–350, 2009
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-16-333-2009

  28 Apr 2009

28 Apr 2009

Recurrent frequency-size distribution of characteristic events

S. G. Abaimov1, K. F. Tiampo1, D. L. Turcotte2, and J. B. Rundle2 S. G. Abaimov et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
  • 2Department of Geology, University of California, Davis, USA

Abstract. Statistical frequency-size (frequency-magnitude) properties of earthquake occurrence play an important role in seismic hazard assessments. The behavior of earthquakes is represented by two different statistics: interoccurrent behavior in a region and recurrent behavior at a given point on a fault (or at a given fault). The interoccurrent frequency-size behavior has been investigated by many authors and generally obeys the power-law Gutenberg-Richter distribution to a good approximation. It is expected that the recurrent frequency-size behavior should obey different statistics. However, this problem has received little attention because historic earthquake sequences do not contain enough events to reconstruct the necessary statistics. To overcome this lack of data, this paper investigates the recurrent frequency-size behavior for several problems. First, the sequences of creep events on a creeping section of the San Andreas fault are investigated. The applicability of the Brownian passage-time, lognormal, and Weibull distributions to the recurrent frequency-size statistics of slip events is tested and the Weibull distribution is found to be the best-fit distribution. To verify this result the behaviors of numerical slider-block and sand-pile models are investigated and the Weibull distribution is confirmed as the applicable distribution for these models as well. Exponents β of the best-fit Weibull distributions for the observed creep event sequences and for the slider-block model are found to have similar values ranging from 1.6 to 2.2 with the corresponding aperiodicities CV of the applied distribution ranging from 0.47 to 0.64. We also note similarities between recurrent time-interval statistics and recurrent frequency-size statistics.

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