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Earth Planets Space, Vol. 63 (No. 3), pp. 197-206, 2011
doi:10.5047/eps.2010.08.002

Application of a long-range forecasting model to earthquakes in the Japan mainland testing region

David A. Rhoades

GNS Science, P.O. Box 30-368, Lower Hutt 5040, New Zealand

(Received April 12, 2010; Revised August 6, 2010; Accepted August 10, 2010; Online published March 4, 2011)

Abstract: The Every Earthquake a Precursor According to Scale (EEPAS) model is a long-range forecasting method which has been previously applied to a number of regions, including Japan. The Collaboratory for the Study of Earthquake Predictability (CSEP) forecasting experiment in Japan provides an opportunity to test the model at lower magnitudes than previously and to compare it with other competing models. The model sums contributions to the rate density from past earthquakes based on predictive scaling relations derived from the precursory scale increase phenomenon. Two features of the earthquake catalogue in the Japan mainland region create difficulties in applying the model, namely magnitude-dependence in the proportion of aftershocks and in the Gutenberg-Richter b-value. To accommodate these features, the model was fitted separately to earthquakes in three different target magnitude classes over the period 2000-2009. There are some substantial unexplained differences in parameters between classes, but the time and magnitude distributions of the individual earthquake contributions are such that the model is suitable for three-month testing at M ≥ 4 and for one-year testing at M ≥ 5. In retrospective analyses, the mean probability gain of the EEPAS model over a spatially smoothed seismicity model increases with magnitude. The same trend is expected in prospective testing. The Proximity to Past Earthquakes (PPE) model has been submitted to the same testing classes as the EEPAS model. Its role is that of a spatially-smoothed reference model, against which the performance of time-varying models can be compared.
Key words: Statistical seismology, earthquake forecasting, Japan.


Corresponding author E-mail: d.rhoades@gns.cri.nz


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