Articles | Volume 17, issue 2
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 17, 169–176, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-17-169-2010

Special issue: Geocomplexity: novel approaches to understanding geosystems

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 17, 169–176, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-17-169-2010

  31 Mar 2010

31 Mar 2010

Record-breaking earthquake intervals in a global catalogue and an aftershock sequence

M. R. Yoder1, D. L. Turcotte2, and J. B. Rundle2,1,3 M. R. Yoder et al.
  • 1Department of Physics, University of California, Davis, California, 95616, USA
  • 2Department of Geology, University of California, Davis, California, 95616, USA
  • 3Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501, USA

Abstract. For the purposes of this study, an interval is the elapsed time between two earthquakes in a designated region; the minimum magnitude for the earthquakes is prescribed. A record-breaking interval is one that is longer (or shorter) than preceding intervals; a starting time must be specified. We consider global earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 5.5 and show that the record-breaking intervals are well estimated by a Poissonian (random) theory. We also consider the aftershocks of the 2004 Parkfield earthquake and show that the record-breaking intervals are approximated by very different statistics. In both cases, we calculate the number of record-breaking intervals (nrb) and the record-breaking interval durations Δtrb as a function of "natural time", the number of elapsed events. We also calculate the ratio of record-breaking long intervals to record-breaking short intervals as a function of time, r(t), which is suggested to be sensitive to trends in noisy time series data. Our data indicate a possible precursory signal to large earthquakes that is consistent with accelerated moment release (AMR) theory.