Articles | Volume 1, issue 1/2
30 Jun 2001
30 Jun 2001

Detecting premonitory seismicity patterns based on critical point dynamics

G. Zöller and S. Hainzl

Abstract. We test the hypothesis that critical point dynamics precedes strong earthquakes in a region surrounding the future hypocenter. Therefore, we search systematically for regions obeying critical point dynamics in terms of a growing spatial correlation length (GCL). The question of whether or not these spatial patterns are correlated with future seismicity is crucial for the problem of predictability. The analysis is conducted for earthquakes with M > 6.5 in California. As a result, we observe that GCL patterns are correlated with the distribution of future seismicity. In particular, there are clear correlations in some cases, e.g. the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and the 1999 Hector Mine earthquake. We claim that the critical point concept can improve the seismic hazard assessment.