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GEAR1: A Global Earthquake Activity Rate model constructed from geodetic strain rates and smoothed seismicity

December 31, 2015

Global earthquake activity rate model 1 (GEAR1) estimates the rate of shallow earthquakes with magnitudes 6–9 everywhere on Earth. It was designed to be reproducible and testable. Our preferred hybrid forecast is a log–linear blend of two parent forecasts based on the Global Centroid Moment Tensor (CMT) catalog (smoothing 4602 m≥5.767 shallow earthquakes, 1977–2004) and the Global Strain Rate Map version 2.1 (smoothing 22,415 Global Positioning System velocities), optimized to best forecast the 2005–2012 Global CMT catalog. Strain rate is a proxy for fault stress accumulation, and earthquakes indicate stress release, so a multiplicative blend is desirable, capturing the strengths of both approaches. This preferred hybrid forecast outperforms its seismicity and strain‐rate parents; the chance that this improvement stems from random seismicity fluctuations is less than 1%. The preferred hybrid is also tested against the independent parts of the International Seismological Centre‐Global Earthquake Model catalog (m≥6.8 during 1918–1976) with similar success. GEAR1 is an update of this preferred hybrid. Comparing GEAR1 to the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast Version 3 (UCERF3), net earthquake rates agree within 4% at m≥5.8 and at m≥7.0. The spatial distribution of UCERF3 epicentroids most resembles GEAR1 after UCERF3 is smoothed with a 30 km kernel. Because UCERF3 has been constructed to derive useful information from fault geometry, slip rates, paleoseismic data, and enhanced seismic catalogs (not used in our model), this is encouraging. To build parametric catastrophe bonds from GEAR1, one could calculate the magnitude for which there is a 1% (or any) annual probability of occurrence in local regions.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2015
Title GEAR1: A Global Earthquake Activity Rate model constructed from geodetic strain rates and smoothed seismicity
DOI 10.1785/0120150058
Authors Peter Bird, David D. Jackson, Yan Y. Kagan, Corné Kreemer, Ross Stein
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Index ID 70197947
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center