Journal of Seismology

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 53–72 | Cite as

Sensitivity analysis of the parameters of earthquake recurrence time power law scaling

  • Abdelhak Talbi
  • Fumio Yamazaki
Original article


The stability of the power law scaling of earthquake recurrence time distribution in a given space–time window is investigated, taking into account the magnitude of completeness and the effective starting time of aftershock sequences in earthquake catalogs from Southern California and Japan. A new method is introduced for sampling at different distances from a network of target events. This method allows the recurrence times to be sampled many times on the same area. Two power laws with unknown exponents are assumed to govern short- and long-recurrence-time ranges. This assumption is developed analytically and shown to imply simple correlation between these power laws. In practice, the results show that this correlation structure is not satisfied for short magnitude cutoffs (m c = 2.5, 3.5, 4.5), and hence the recurrence time distribution departs from the power law scaling. The scaling parameters obtained from the stack of the distributions corresponding to different magnitude thresholds are quite different for different regions of study. It is also found that significantly different scaling parameters adjust the distribution for different magnitude thresholds. In particular, the power law exponents decrease when the magnitude cutoff increases, resulting in a slower decrease of the recurrence time distribution, especially for short time ranges. For example, in the case of Japan, the exponent p2 of the power law scaling at large recurrence times follows roughly the relation: \(p_2 \left( {m_c } \right)=-0.07m_c +2.7;m_c \ge 3.5\), where m c is the magnitude cutoff. In case of Southern California, it is shown that Weibull distribution provides a better alternative fit to the data for moderate and large time scales.


Recurrence times Scaling Power laws Universality Magnitude of completeness 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Urban Environment System, Graduate School of EngineeringChiba UniversityChibaJapan

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