Experimental Design for Testing Hypotheses of Earthquake Precursors

Maximilian J. Werner

August 3, 2020, SCEC Contribution #10245, 2020 SCEC Annual Meeting Talk on TBD

Generations of earthquake scientists have proposed the existence of observable precursory earthquake activity, but few have offered a scientific plan for testing their ideas. Recently proposed hypotheses include precursory aseismic slip driving systematic foreshock patterns, Gutenberg-Richter b-value variations in aftershock statistics that predict secondary mainshocks, the localisation of distributed seismicity onto narrower fault structures, and many others. How can the seismological community avoid the pitfalls of the (earthquake prediction) past and weed out the good ideas from the bad in an efficient, reproducible and scientific manner? In other words, how should experiments be designed to assess the predictive skill of precursors? To consider these questions, I will draw on the experience of the Collaboratory for the Study of Earthquake Predictability (CSEP), a global initiative that develops cyberinfrastructure for prospectively evaluating earthquake forecast models. In addition, I will discuss pertinent methods from the medical, social and life sciences that might help us determine the significance and effect size of proposed precursors more confidently.

Werner, M. J. (2020, 08). Experimental Design for Testing Hypotheses of Earthquake Precursors . Oral Presentation at 2020 SCEC Annual Meeting.

Related Projects & Working Groups
Earthquake Forecasting and Predictability (EFP)