Earthquake statistics at Parkfield: 2. Probabilistic forecasting and testing

Danijel Schorlemmer, Stefan Wiemer, Max Wyss, & David D. Jackson

Published December 2004, SCEC Contribution #787

In paper 1 ( Schorlemmer et al., 2004) we showed that the spatial b value (of the Gutenberg-Richter relation) distribution at the Parkfield segment of the San Andreas fault remained stationary for the past 35 years. In this paper (paper 2) we extend those results, construct two probabilistic forecasts (H1 with a spatially varying b value and H2 with a uniform b value), and test these hypotheses against each other. Both hypotheses use a spatially varying seismicity level (a value) determined from past seismicity. We used a range of sampling parameters (magnitude threshold, cell size, etc.) to assure robust results. We found that in most of the tests, hypothesis H1 showed a higher likelihood than H2, although both are a poor approximation to the seismicity data. The most positive results for H1 are obtained for testing magnitude ranges down to M = 1.5 and with sampling radii as defined in paper 1 as appropriate for Parkfield. The superior performance of H1 suggests that spatially varying b values should be considered in earthquake forecasts.

Key Words
United States, Parkfield earthquakes, b-values, statistical analysis, magnitude, Richter Scale, California, earthquake prediction, San Andreas Fault, mathematical methods, Monterey County California, Parkfield California, probability, tectonics, earthquakes, seismotectonics

Schorlemmer, D., Wiemer, S., Wyss, M., & Jackson, D. D. (2004).  Earthquake statistics at Parkfield: 2. Probabilistic forecasting and testing. Journal of Geophysical Research, 109(B12308). doi: 10.1029/2004JB003235.