, Volume 138, Issue 4, pp 531-548

Towards a new view of earthquake phenomena

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Recent advances in the theory of fracture and fragmentation are reviewed. Empirical laws in seismology are interpreted from a fractal perspective, and earthquakes are viewed as a self-organized critical phenomenon (SOC). Earthquakes occur as an energy dissipation process in the earth's crust to which the tectonic energy is continuously input. The crust self-organizes into the critical state and the temporal and spatial fractal structure emerges naturally. Power-law relations known in seismology are the expression of the critical state of the crust. An SOC model for earthquakes, which explains the Gutenberg-Richter relation, the Omori's formula of aftershocks and the fractal distribution of hypocenters, is presented. A new view of earthquake phenomena shares a common standpoint with other disciplines to study natural complex phenomena with a unified theory.