Universal mean moment rate profiles of earthquake ruptures

Amit P. Mehta, Karin A. Dahmen, Yehuda Ben-Zion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Earthquake phenomenology exhibits a number of power law distributions including the Gutenberg-Richter frequency-size statistics and the Omori law for aftershock decay rates. In search for a basic model that renders correct predictions on long spatiotemporal scales, we discuss results associated with a heterogeneous fault with long-range stress-transfer interactions. To better understand earthquake dynamics we focus on faults with Gutenberg-Richter-like earthquake statistics and develop two universal scaling functions as a stronger test of the theory against observations than mere scaling exponents that have large error bars. Universal shape profiles contain crucial information on the underlying dynamics in a variety of systems. As in magnetic systems, we find that our analysis for earthquakes provides a good overall agreement between theory and observations, but with a potential discrepancy in one particular universal scaling function for moment rates. We primarily use mean field theory for the theoretical analysis, since it has been shown to be in the same universality class as the full three-dimensional version of the model (up to logarithmic corrections). The results point to the existence of deep connections between the physics of avalanches in different systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number056104
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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