Statistical tests on clustered global earthquake synthetic data sets

TitleStatistical tests on clustered global earthquake synthetic data sets
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsDaub E.G, Trugman D.T, Johnson P.A
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth
Date Published2015/08
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2169-9313
Accession NumberWOS:000362224100017
Keywordsaftershocks; california; catalogs; deformations; earthquake clustering; earthquake hazard; earthquake interaction; great earthquakes; magnitude; release; sequence; statistical seismology; stress; time

We study the ability of statistical tests to identify nonrandom features of earthquake catalogs, with a focus on the global earthquake record since 1900. We construct four types of synthetic data sets containing varying strengths of clustering, with each data set containing on average 10,000 events over 100years with magnitudes above M = 6. We apply a suite of statistical tests to each synthetic realization in order to evaluate the ability of each test to identify the sequences of events as nonrandom. Our results show that detection ability is dependent on the quantity of data, the nature of the type of clustering, and the specific signal used in the statistical test. Data sets that exhibit a stronger variation in the seismicity rate are generally easier to identify as nonrandom for a given background rate. We also show that we can address this problem in a Bayesian framework, with the clustered data sets as prior distributions. Using this new Bayesian approach, we can place quantitative bounds on the range of possible clustering strengths that are consistent with the global earthquake data. At M = 7, we can estimate 99th percentile confidence bounds on the number of triggered events, with an upper bound of 20% of the catalog for global aftershock sequences, with a stronger upper bound on the fraction of triggered events of 10% for long-term event clusters. At M = 8, the bounds are less strict due to the reduced number of events. However, our analysis shows that other types of clustering could be present in the data that we are unable to detect. Our results aid in the interpretation of the results of statistical tests on earthquake catalogs, both worldwide and regionally.

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