New Approach to Gutenberg-Richter Scaling

C. A. Serino, K. F. Tiampo, and W. Klein
Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 108501 – Published 7 March 2011


We introduce a new model for an earthquake fault system that is composed of noninteracting simple lattice models with different levels of damage denoted by q. The undamaged lattice models (q=0) have Gutenberg-Richter scaling with a cumulative exponent β=1/2, whereas the damaged models do not have well defined scaling. However, if we consider the “fault system” consisting of all models, damaged and undamaged, we get excellent scaling with the exponent depending on the relative frequency with which faults with a particular amount of damage occur in the fault system. This paradigm combines the idea that Gutenberg-Richter scaling is associated with an underlying critical point with the notion that the structure of a fault system also affects the statistical distribution of earthquakes. In addition, it provides a framework in which the variation, from one tectonic region to another, of the scaling exponent, or b value, can be understood.

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  • Received 7 December 2010


© 2011 American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

C. A. Serino*

  • Department of Physics, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA

K. F. Tiampo

  • Department of Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 3K7

W. Klein

  • Department of Physics and Center for Computational Science, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA

  • *

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Vol. 106, Iss. 10 — 11 March 2011

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