Intermediate-term earthquake prediction.


An earthquake of magnitude M and linear source dimension L(M) is preceded within a few years by certain patterns of seismicity in the magnitude range down to about (M - 3) in an area of linear dimension about 5L-10L. Prediction algorithms based on such patterns may allow one to predict approximately 80% of strong earthquakes with alarms occupying altogether 20-30% of the time-space considered. An area of alarm can be narrowed down to 2L-3L when observations include lower magnitudes, down to about (M - 4). In spite of their limited accuracy, such predictions open a possibility to prevent considerable damage. The following findings may provide for further development of prediction methods: (i) long-range correlations in fault system dynamics and accordingly large size of the areas over which different observed fields could be averaged and analyzed jointly, (ii) specific symptoms of an approaching strong earthquake, (iii) the partial similarity of these symptoms worldwide, (iv) the fact that some of them are not Earth specific: we probably encountered in seismicity the symptoms of instability common for a wide class of nonlinear systems.

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