The behavior of individual events in repeating earthquake sequences in California, Taiwan and Japan is better predicted by a model with fixed inter-event time or fixed slip than it is by the time- and slip-predictable models for earthquake occurrence. Given that repeating earthquakes are highly regular in both inter-event time and seismic moment, the time- and slip-predictable models seem ideally suited to explain their behavior. Taken together with evidence from the companion manuscript that shows similar results for laboratory experiments we conclude that the short-term predictions of the time- and slip-predictable models should be rejected in favor of earthquake models that assume either fixed slip or fixed recurrence interval. This implies that the elastic rebound model underlying the time- and slip-predictable models offers no additional value in describing earthquake behavior in an event-to-event sense, but its value in a long-term sense cannot be determined. These models likely fail because they rely on assumptions that oversimplify the earthquake cycle. We note that the time and slip of these events is predicted quite well by fixed slip and fixed recurrence models, so in some sense they are time- and slip-predictable. While fixed recurrence and slip models better predict repeating earthquake behavior than the time- and slip-predictable models, we observe a correlation between slip and the preceding recurrence time for many repeating earthquake sequences in Parkfield, California. This correlation is not found in other regions, and the sequences with the correlative slip-predictable behavior are not distinguishable from nearby earthquake sequences that do not exhibit this behavior.
Additional publication details
Fixed recurrence and slip models better predict earthquake behavior than the time- and slip-predictable models 1: repeating earthquakes