Aftershocks Identification and Classification

Usually, earthquakes develop after a strong main event. In literature they are defined as aftershocks and play a crucial role in the seismic sequence development: as a result, they should not be neglected. In this paper we analyzed several aftershock sequences triggered after a major earthquake, with the aimed at identifying, classifying and predicting the most energetic aftershocks. We developed some simple graphic and numeric methods that allowed us to analyze the development of the most energetic aftershock sequences and estimate their magnitude value. In particular, using a hierarchisation process related to the aftershocks sequence, we identified primary aftershocks of various orders triggered by the mainshock and secondary aftershocks of various orders triggered by the previous shock. Besides, by a graphic method, it was possible to estimate their magnitude. Through the study of the delay time and distance between the most energetic aftershocks and the mainshock, we found that the aftershocks occur within twenty-four hours after the mainshock and their distance remains within a range of hundreds of kilometers. To define the aftershocks sequence decay rate, we developed a sequence strength indicator (ISF), which uses the magnitude value and the daily number of seismic events. Moreover, in order to obtain additional information on the developmental state of the aftershocks sequence and on the magnitude values that may occur in the future, we used the Fibonacci levels. The analyses conducted on different aftershocks sequences, resulting from strong earthquakes occurred in various areas of the world over the last forty years, confirm the validity of our approach that can be useful for a short-medium term evaluation of the aftershocks sequence as well as for a proper assessment of their magnitude value.

Giulio Riga & Paolo Balocchi

Riga, G. and Balocchi, P. (2017) Aftershocks Identification and Classification. Open Journal of Earthquake Research, 6, 135-157. doi: 10.4236/ojer.2017.63008.


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