Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 170, Issue 1–2, pp 221–228 | Cite as

Aftershock Statistics of the 1999 Chi–Chi, Taiwan Earthquake and the Concept of Omori Times

  • Ya-Ting Lee
  • Donald L. Turcotte
  • John B. Rundle
  • Chien-Chih Chen


In this paper we consider the statistics of the aftershock sequence of the m = 7.65 20 September 1999 Chi–Chi, Taiwan earthquake. We first consider the frequency-magnitude statistics. We find good agreement with Gutenberg–Richter scaling but find that the aftershock level is anomalously high. This level is quantified using the difference in magnitude between the main shock and the largest inferred aftershock \( {{\Updelta}}m^{ *}. \) Typically, \( {{\Updelta}}m^{ *} \) is in the range 0.8–1.5, but for the Chi–Chi earthquake the value is \( {{\Updelta}}m^{ *} \) = 0.03. We suggest that this may be due to an aseismic slow-earthquake component of rupture. We next consider the decay rate of aftershock activity following the earthquake. The rates are well approximated by the modified Omori’s law. We show that the distribution of interoccurrence times between aftershocks follow a nonhomogeneous Poisson process. We introduce the concept of Omori times to study the merging of the aftershock activity with the background seismicity. The Omori time is defined to be the mean interoccurrence time over a fixed number of aftershocks.


Earthquakes aftershocks Omori times interoccurrence times 


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ya-Ting Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • Donald L. Turcotte
    • 1
  • John B. Rundle
    • 1
    • 3
  • Chien-Chih Chen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Graduate Institute of GeophysicsNational Central UniversityJhongliTaiwan, ROC
  3. 3.Department of PhysicsUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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