Significance test for seismicity rate changes before the 1987 Chiba-toho-oki earthquake (M 6.7) Japan

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K. Maeda
S. Wiemer


A precursory seismic quiescence lasting 1.5 ± 0.5 years was observed prior to the 1987 M 6.7 Chiba-toho-oki earthquake, Central Japan. This event was the largest mainshock to occur in the region in 60 years. A quantitative analysis of the seismicity rates, using two independent catalogs provided by the NIED and JMA networks, shows that the precursory seismic quiescence is centered in the shallower part of the rupture zone of the subsequent mainshock, at a depth of 20-40 km. At the hypocenter of the 1987 Chiba-toho-oki mainshock, a 50% increase in the seismicity rate was detected in the NIED data, coinciding in time with the onset of quiescence (1986.4 ± 0.5). The simultaneous appearance of both quiescence in the shallow part of the rupture zone observed in two catalogs, and a rate increase in the immediate hypocenter region, suggest that these phenomena are causally linked to the subsequent mainshock. However, a quantitative analysis of both catalogs reveals that the precursory quiescence and rate increase are not unique, since rate changes of this duration and significance often occur in the data. A rate change of this significance rating could probably not be detected as a precursor in a real time approach. For the aid of real time monitoring of seismicity rate changes, we introduce the method to calculate the 95-percentile of confidence level for the significant rate changes.

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Maeda, K. and Wiemer, S. (1999) “Significance test for seismicity rate changes before the 1987 Chiba-toho-oki earthquake (M 6.7) Japan”, Annals of Geophysics, 42(5). doi: 10.4401/ag-3764.

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