Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 173, Issue 5, pp 1517–1537 | Cite as

Violations of Gutenberg–Richter Relation in Anthropogenic Seismicity

  • Pawel Urban
  • Stanislaw LasockiEmail author
  • Patrick Blascheck
  • Aderson Farias do Nascimento
  • Nguyen Van Giang
  • Grzegorz Kwiatek


Anthropogenic seismicity (AS) is the undesired dynamic rockmass response to technological processes. AS environments are shallow hence their heterogeneities have important impact on AS. Moreover, AS is controlled by complex and changeable technological factors. This complicated origin of AS explains why models used in tectonic seismicity may be not suitable for AS. We study here four cases of AS, testing statistically whether the magnitudes follow the Gutenberg–Richter relation or not. The considered cases include the data from Mponeng gold mine in South Africa, the data observed during stimulation of geothermal well Basel 1 in Switzerland, the data from Acu water reservoir region in Brazil and the data from Song Tranh 2 hydropower plant region in Vietnam. The cases differ in inducing technologies, in the duration of periods in which they were recorded, and in the ranges of magnitudes. In all four cases the observed frequency–magnitude distributions statistically significantly differ from the Gutenberg–Richter relation. Although in all cases the Gutenberg–Richter b value changed in time, this factor turns out to be not responsible for the discovered deviations from the Gutenberg–Richter-born exponential distribution model. Though the deviations from Gutenberg–Richter law are not big, they substantially diminish the accuracy of assessment of seismic hazard parameters. It is demonstrated that the use of non-parametric kernel estimators of magnitude distribution functions improves significantly the accuracy of hazard estimates and, therefore, these estimators are recommended to be used in probabilistic analyses of seismic hazard caused by AS.


Magnitude scaling Gutenberg–Richter relation breakdown non-parametric estimation anthropogenic seismicity 



This work was done in the framework of the project IS-EPOS: Digital Research Space of Induced Seismicity for EPOS Purposes (POIG.02.03.00-14-090/13-00), funded by the National Centre for Research and Development in the Operational Program Innovative Economy in the years 2013–2015. The work was also partially supported within statutory activities No 3841/E-41/S/2015 of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Poland. JAGUARS seismic data used in this study were provided by GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Department 3: Geodynamics and Geomaterials, Section 3.2: Geomechanics and Rheology, Telegrafenberg, D14473 Potsdam, Germany and they are available on request. The Authors want to thank M. Nakatani, J. Philipp, Y. Yabe, H. Ogasawara, and co-workers from JAGUARS group for their work in installing and maintaining the JAGUARS network. AFdN thanks CNPq (National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development—Brazil) for his fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pawel Urban
    • 1
  • Stanislaw Lasocki
    • 1
    Email author
  • Patrick Blascheck
    • 2
  • Aderson Farias do Nascimento
    • 3
  • Nguyen Van Giang
    • 4
  • Grzegorz Kwiatek
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of GeophysicsPolish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland
  2. 2.Institute of GeophysicsUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  3. 3.Departamento de GeofísicaUFRNNatalBrazil
  4. 4.Institute of GeophysicsVietnam Academy of Science and TechnologyHanoiVietnam
  5. 5.Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 3.2: Geomechanics and RheologyPotsdamGermany

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