Statistical analysis of aftershock sequences related with two major Nepal earthquakes: April 25, 2015, MW 7.8, and May 12, 2015, MW 7.2

Prasanta Chingtham, Babita Sharma, Sumer Chopra, Pareshnath SinghaRoy


Present study describes the statistical properties of aftershock sequences related with two major Nepal earthquakes (April 25, 2015, MW 7.8, and May 12, 2015, MW 7.2) and their correlations with the tectonics of Nepal Himalaya. The established empirical scaling laws such as the Gutenberg–Richter (GR) relation, the modified Omori law, and the fractal dimension for both the aftershock sequences of Nepal earthquakes have been investigated to assess the spatio-temporal characteristics of these sequences. For this purpose, the homogenized earthquake catalog in moment magnitude, MW is compiled from International Seismological Center (ISC) and Global Centroid Moment Tensor (GCMT) databases during the period from April 25 to October 31, 2015. The magnitude of completeness, MC, a and b-values of Gutenberg–Richter relationship for the first aftershock sequence are found to be 3.0, 4.74, 0.75 (±0.03) respectively whereas the MC, a and b-values of the same relationship for the second aftershock sequence are calculated to be 3.3, 5.46, 0.90 (±0.04) respectively. The observed low b-values for both the sequences, as compared to the global mean of 1.0 indicate the presence of high differential stress accumulations within the fractured rock mass of Nepal Himalaya. The calculated p-values of 1.01 ± 0.05 and 0.95 ± 0.04 respectively for both the aftershock sequences also imply that the aftershock sequence of first main-shock exhibits relatively faster temporal decay pattern than the aftershock sequence of second main-shock. The fractal dimensions, DC values of 1.84 ± 0.05 and 1.91 ± 0.05 respectively for both the aftershock sequences of Nepal earthquakes also reveal the clustering pattern of earthquakes and signifies that the aftershocks are scattered all around the two dimensional space of fractured fault systems of the Nepal region. The low b-value and low DC observed in the temporal variations of b-value and DC before the investigated earthquake (MW 7.2) suggest the presence of high-stress concentrations in the thrusting regimes of the Nepal region before the failure of faults. Moreover, the decrease of b-value with the corresponding decrease of DC observed in their temporal variations can primarily act as an indicator for possible prediction of major earthquakes in the study region.


Nepal earthquakes; b-value; p-value; D_C

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X