Self-organization of spatio-temporal earthquake clusters
- Institute of Physics, University of Potsdam, D-14469 Potsdam, Germany
Abstract. Cellular automaton versions of the Burridge-Knopoff model have been shown to reproduce the power law distribution of event sizes; that is, the Gutenberg-Richter law. However, they have failed to reproduce the occurrence of foreshock and aftershock sequences correlated with large earthquakes. We show that in the case of partial stress recovery due to transient creep occurring subsequently to earthquakes in the crust, such spring-block systems self-organize into a statistically stationary state characterized by a power law distribution of fracture sizes as well as by foreshocks and aftershocks accompanying large events. In particular, the increase of foreshock and the decrease of aftershock activity can be described by, aside from a prefactor, the same Omori law. The exponent of the Omori law depends on the relaxation time and on the spatial scale of transient creep. Further investigations concerning the number of aftershocks, the temporal variation of aftershock magnitudes, and the waiting time distribution support the conclusion that this model, even "more realistic" physics in missed, captures in some ways the origin of the size distribution as well as spatio-temporal clustering of earthquakes.