TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 56 (No. 8), pp. 715-724, 2004

Advance short-term prediction of the large Tokachi-oki earthquake, September 25, 2003, M = 8.1 A case history

P. Shebalin1, V. Keilis-Borok1,2,3, I. Zaliapin1,2, S. Uyeda4, T. Nagao4, and N. Tsybin5

1International Institute for Earthquake Prediction Theory and Mathematical Geophysics, Russian Ac. Sci., Warshavskoe sh., 79, korp. 2, Moscow, 113556, Russia
2Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, California, 90095-1567, U.S.A.
3Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, California, 90095-1567, U.S.A.
4Earthquake Prediction Research Center, Tokai University, 3-20-1 Orido, Shimizu City, Shizuoka 424, Japan
5Russian Federation State Research Center, State Research Institute of Aviation Systems, 7, Victorenko st., Moscow, 125319 Russia

(Received November 27, 2003; Revised May 10, 2004; Accepted May 26, 2004)

Abstract: Tokachi-oki earthquake in northern Japan, September 25, 2003, magnitude 8.1, was predicted six months in advance by a short-term earthquake precursor "chain" that reflects an increase of the correlation range among small earthquakes. This prediction is part of the ongoing test of a new short-term prediction method; the test covers territories of Japan, California, and Eastern Mediterranean. Qualitatively, precursory chain is a dense sequence of small earthquakes that had quickly extended over a long distance. A strong earthquake is expected within nine months after such chain is formed, in its formally defined vicinity. Chains are analyzed in conjunction with intermediate-term precursors, emerging with characteristic lead time of years. Methodology of prediction is named "Reverse Tracing of Precursors" (RTP), since precursors are considered in the reverse order of their appearance. That allows detecting short-term precursors not detectable with direct order of analysis. RTP was tested retrospectively for California, Japan, and Eastern Mediterranean, where 22 more strong earthquakes occurred during the time considered. The concept underlying RTP is interaction of lithosphere dynamics on different temporal scales. The described results enhance our fundamental understanding of lithosphere dynamics and, on the practical side, our capability for earthquakes preparedness.
Key words: Advance short-term earthquake prediction, earthquake correlation, Tokachi-oki.

Corresponding author E-mail: shebalin@mitp.ru

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