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An interactive viewer to improve operational aftershock forecasts

November 14, 2022

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) issues forecasts for aftershocks about 20 minutes after most earthquakes above M 5 in the United States and its territories, and updates these forecasts 75 times during the first year. Most of the forecasts are issued automatically, but some forecasts require manual intervention to maintain accuracy. It is important to identify the sequences whose forecasts will benefit from a modified approach so the USGS can provide accurate information to the public. The oaftools R package (Paris and Michael, 2022) includes functions that analyze and plot earthquake sequences and their forecasts to identify which sequences require such intervention. The package includes the Operational Aftershock Forecast (OAF) Viewer, which incorporates the functions into an interactive web environment that can be used to explore aftershock sequences. The OAF Viewer starts with a global map and table of mainshocks. After a mainshock has been selected, the map and a new table show its aftershocks and the OAF Viewer generates five analytical plots: (1) magnitude–time, which is used to look for patterns in the data; (2) cumulative number, to see how the productivity of the sequence compares to a Reasenberg and Jones (1989) aftershock model over time; (3) magnitude–frequency, to compare the ratio of large to small magnitudes and extrapolate to higher magnitudes with sparse data and lower magnitudes with incomplete data; (4) forecast success, to compare the forecasts with observations for a sequence; and (5) parameter–time, which examines the temporal evolution of the forecast model parameters. The user can interact with the functions provided by the oaftools package through the OAF Viewer or by incorporating the functions into their own analysis methods. The OAF Viewer will help seismologists understand complexities in the data, communicate with the public and emergency managers, and improve the OAF system by maintaining operational awareness.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2023
Title An interactive viewer to improve operational aftershock forecasts
DOI 10.1785/0220220108
Authors Gabrielle Madison Paris, Andrew J. Michael
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Seismological Research Letters
Index ID 70239296
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center

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