Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 173, Issue 1, pp 165–172 | Cite as

Statistical Significance of Minimum of the Order Parameter Fluctuations of Seismicity Before Major Earthquakes in Japan

  • N. V. Sarlis
  • E. S. Skordas
  • S.-R. G. Christopoulos
  • P. A. VarotsosEmail author


In a previous publication, the seismicity of Japan from 1 January 1984 to 11 March 2011 (the time of the \(M9\) Tohoku earthquake occurrence) has been analyzed in a time domain called natural time \(\chi.\) The order parameter of seismicity in this time domain is the variance of \(\chi\) weighted for normalized energy of each earthquake. It was found that the fluctuations of the order parameter of seismicity exhibit 15 distinct minima—deeper than a certain threshold—1 to around 3 months before the occurrence of large earthquakes that occurred in Japan during 1984–2011. Six (out of 15) of these minima were followed by all the shallow earthquakes of magnitude 7.6 or larger during the whole period studied. Here, we show that the probability to achieve the latter result by chance is of the order of \(10^{-5}\). This conclusion is strengthened by employing also the receiver operating characteristics technique.


Natural time analysis  Japan receiver operating characteristics Monte Carlo calculation fluctuations order parameter of seismicity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. V. Sarlis
    • 1
  • E. S. Skordas
    • 1
  • S.-R. G. Christopoulos
    • 1
  • P. A. Varotsos
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Solid State Physics and Solid Earth Physics Institute, Faculty of Physics, School of ScienceNational and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece

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