Rescaled earthquake recurrence time statistics: Application to microrepeaters

Christian Goltz, Donald L. Turcotte, Sergey G. Abaimov, Robert M. Nadeau, Naoki Uchida, Toru Matsuzawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Slip on major faults primarily occurs during 'characteristic' earthquakes. The recurrence statistics of characteristic earthquakes play an important role in seismic hazard assessment. A major problem in determining applicable statistics is the short sequences of characteristic earthquakes that are available worldwide. In this paper, we introduce a rescaling technique in which sequences can be superimposed to establish larger numbers of data points. We consider the Weibull and log-normal distributions, in both cases we rescale the data using means and standard deviations. We test our approach utilizing sequences of microrepeaters, micro-earthquakes which recur in the same location on a fault. It seems plausible to regard these earthquakes as a miniature version of the classic characteristic earthquakes. Microrepeaters are much more frequent than major earthquakes, leading to longer sequences for analysis. In this paper, we present results for the analysis of recurrence times for several microrepeater sequences from Parkfield, CA as well as NE Japan. We find that, once the respective sequence can be considered to be of sufficient stationarity, the statistics can be well fitted by either a Weibull or a log-normal distribution. We clearly demonstrate this fact by our technique of rescaled combination. We conclude that the recurrence statistics of the microrepeater sequences we consider are similar to the recurrence statistics of characteristic earthquakes on major faults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-264
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Earthquake dynamics
  • Probability distributions
  • Statistical seismology


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