Articles | Volume 22, issue 5
Research article
08 Sep 2015
Research article |  | 08 Sep 2015

Earthquake sequencing: chimera states with Kuramoto model dynamics on directed graphs

K. Vasudevan, M. Cavers, and A. Ware

Abstract. Earthquake sequencing studies allow us to investigate empirical relationships among spatio-temporal parameters describing the complexity of earthquake properties. We have recently studied the relevance of Markov chain models to draw information from global earthquake catalogues. In these studies, we considered directed graphs as graph theoretic representations of the Markov chain model and analyzed their properties. Here, we look at earthquake sequencing itself as a directed graph. In general, earthquakes are occurrences resulting from significant stress interactions among faults. As a result, stress-field fluctuations evolve continuously. We propose that they are akin to the dynamics of the collective behavior of weakly coupled non-linear oscillators. Since mapping of global stress-field fluctuations in real time at all scales is an impossible task, we consider an earthquake zone as a proxy for a collection of weakly coupled oscillators, the dynamics of which would be appropriate for the ubiquitous Kuramoto model. In the present work, we apply the Kuramoto model with phase lag to the non-linear dynamics on a directed graph of a sequence of earthquakes. For directed graphs with certain properties, the Kuramoto model yields synchronization, and inclusion of non-local effects evokes the occurrence of chimera states or the co-existence of synchronous and asynchronous behavior of oscillators. In this paper, we show how we build the directed graphs derived from global seismicity data. Then, we present conditions under which chimera states could occur and, subsequently, point out the role of the Kuramoto model in understanding the evolution of synchronous and asynchronous regions. We surmise that one implication of the emergence of chimera states will lead to investigation of the present and other mathematical models in detail to generate global chimera-state maps similar to global seismicity maps for earthquake forecasting studies.

Short summary
Earthquake sequencing is an intriguing research topic and the dynamics involved are complex. For directed graphs that represent earthquake sequencing, the Kuramoto model yields synchronization. Inclusion of non-local effects evokes the occurrence of chimera states or the co-existence of synchronous and asynchronous behavior among earthquake zones. It is the chaotic dynamics of them resulting in certain patterns that we begin to see in the sequence of seismic events with a very simple model.