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Forecasting the (un)productivity of the 2014 M 6.0 South Napa aftershock sequence

October 1, 2017

The 24 August 2014 Mw 6.0 South Napa mainshock produced fewer aftershocks than expected for a California earthquake of its magnitude. In the first 4.5 days, only 59 M≥1.8 aftershocks occurred, the largest of which was an M 3.9 that happened a little over two days after the mainshock. We investigate the aftershock productivity of the South Napa sequence and compare it with other M≥5.5 California strike‐slip mainshock–aftershock sequences. While the productivity of the South Napa sequence is among the lowest, northern California mainshocks generally have fewer aftershocks than mainshocks further south, although the productivities vary widely in both regions. An epidemic‐type aftershock sequence (ETAS) model (Ogata, 1988) fit to Napa seismicity from 1980 to 23 August 2014 fits the sequence well and suggests that low‐productivity sequences are typical of this area. Utilizing regional variations in productivity could improve operational earthquake forecasting (OEF) by improving the model used immediately after the mainshock. We show this by comparing the daily rate of M≥2 aftershocks to forecasts made with the generic California model (Reasenberg and Jones, 1989; hereafter, RJ89), RJ89 models with productivity updated daily, a generic California ETAS model, an ETAS model based on premainshock seismicity, and ETAS models updated daily following the mainshock. RJ89 models for which only the productivity is updated provide better forecasts than the generic RJ89 California model, and the Napa‐specific ETAS models forecast the aftershock rates more accurately than either generic model. Therefore, forecasts that use localized initial parameters and that rapidly update the productivity may be better for OEF than using a generic model and/or updating all parameters.

Publication Year 2017
Title Forecasting the (un)productivity of the 2014 M 6.0 South Napa aftershock sequence
DOI 10.1785/0220170050
Authors Andrea L. Llenos, Andrew J. Michael
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Seismological Research Letters
Index ID 70191531
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center