Recurrent frequency-size distribution of characteristic events

S. G. Abaimov, K. F. Tiampo, D. L. Turcotte, J. B. Rundle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Statistical frequency-size (frequency-magnitude) properties of earthquake occurrence play an important role in seismic hazard assessments. The behavior of earthquakes is represented by two different statistics: interoccurrent behavior in a region and recurrent behavior at a given point on a fault (or at a given fault). The interoccurrent frequencysize behavior has been investigated by many authors and generally obeys the power-law Gutenberg-Richter distribution to a good approximation. It is expected that the recurrent frequency-size behavior should obey different statistics. However, this problem has received little attention because historic earthquake sequences do not contain enough events to reconstruct the necessary statistics. To overcome this lack of data, this paper investigates the recurrent frequencysize behavior for several problems. First, the sequences of creep events on a creeping section of the San Andreas fault are investigated. The applicability of the Brownian passage-time, lognormal, and Weibull distributions to the recurrent frequency-size statistics of slip events is tested and the Weibull distribution is found to be the best-fit distribution. To verify this result the behaviors of numerical sliderblock and sand-pile models are investigated and the Weibull distribution is confirmed as the applicable distribution for these models as well. Exponents β of the best-fit Weibull distributions for the observed creep event sequences and for the slider-block model are found to have similar values ranging from 1.6 to 2.2 with the corresponding aperiodicities CV of the applied distribution ranging from 0.47 to 0.64. We also note similarities between recurrent time-interval statistics and recurrent frequency-size statistics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-350
Number of pages18
JournalNonlinear Processes in Geophysics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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