Earthquake forecasting in diverse tectonic zones of the Globe

Yan Y. Kagan, & David D. Jackson

Published 2010, SCEC Contribution #1245

We present a simple method for long- and short-term earthquake forecasting (estimating earthquake rate per unit area, time, and magnitude). For illustration we apply the method to the Pacific plate boundary region and the Mediterranean area surrounding Italy and Greece. Our ultimate goal is to develop forecasting and testing methods to validate or falsify common assumptions regarding earthquake potential. Our immediate purpose is to extend the forecasts we made in 1999 for the northwest and southwest Pacific to include somewhat smaller earthquakes and then adapt the methods to apply in other areas. The previous forecasts used the CMT earthquake catalog to forecast magnitude 5.8 and larger earthquakes. Like our previous forecasts, the new ones here are based on smoothed maps of past seismicity and assume spatial clustering. Our short-term forecasts also assume temporal clustering. An important adaptation in the new forecasts is to abandon the use of tensor focal mechanisms. This permits use of earthquake catalogs that reliably report many smaller quakes with no such mechanism estimates. The result is that we can forecast earthquakes at higher spatial resolution and down to a magnitude threshold of 4.7. The new forecasts can be tested much more quickly because smaller events are much more frequent. Also, our previous method used the focal mechanisms of past earthquakes to estimate the preferred directions of earthquake clustering, but the method made assumptions that generally hold in subduction zones only. The new approach escapes those assumptions. In the northwest Pacific the new method gives estimated earthquake rate density very similar to that of the previous forecast.

Key Words
Earthquake global forecasts, statistical analysis of earthquake occurrence, branching models of seismicity, forecasts testing, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, SHORT-TERM, MODELS, PREDICTION, SEISMICITY, MAGNITUDE, MODERATE, OCCURRENCES, CATALOGS, JAPAN

Kagan, Y. Y., & Jackson, D. D. (2010). Earthquake forecasting in diverse tectonic zones of the Globe. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 167(6/7), 709-719. doi: 10.1007/s00024-010-0074-4.