Symmetropy of earthquake patterns: Asymmetry and rotation in a disordered seismic source

Kazuyoshi Z. Nanjo, Hiroyuki Nagahama, Eiji Yodogawa

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3 Citations (Scopus)


We demonstrate that the idea of symmetropy can be used for quantification of earthquake patterns. The symmetropy can be considered as a measure of asymmetry. A pattern is richer in asymmetry when the symmetropy is smaller. The specific results of its applications are obtained as follows. In a discrete model of a seismic source with self-organized criticality, the spatial patterns of earthquakes during critical states and sub-critical states are distinguished by the behaviour of the symmetropy: sub-critical patterns show that the symmetropy is approximately a constant but this has various values during critical states. The critical patterns show asymmetric property without any asymmetric force from the outside and without asymmetric intracellular rule. We show that the emergence of asymmetric patterns is a generic feature of dynamic ruptures in our model. Such a generic asymmetry results from the model which is an inherently discrete system consisting of finite-sized cells. These cells may represent geometrical disordered fault zones. We further discuss rotational motions that generate seismic rotational waves. In micromorphic continuum theory, such rotations are attributed to dynamic ruptures in disordered systems. We note that the concept of disorder in this theory is expressed by a set of finite-sized microstructures and is consistent with the concept of disorder modelled in the present study. Thus, we suggest that the spatially asymmetric patterns of earthquakes might be related to the rotational motions, because both come from dynamic ruptures in a discrete fault zone without a well-defined continuum limit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalActa Geophysica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Mar


  • Asymmetry
  • Earthquake
  • Rotation
  • Self-organized criticality
  • Symmetropy


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