Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers find mathematical patterns to forecast earthquakes

Date:
December 3, 2010
Source:
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Summary:
Researchers in Spain have found patterns of behavior that occur before an earthquake on the Iberian peninsula. The team used clustering techniques to forecast medium-large seismic movements when certain circumstances coincide.

These are seismogenic areas of Spain and Portugal. The study focused on the areas 26 and 27.
Credit: Martínez-Álvarez et al.

Researchers from the Universidad Pablo de Olavide (UPO) and the Universidad de Sevilla (US) have found patterns of behaviour that occur before an earthquake on the Iberian peninsula. The team used clustering techniques to forecast medium-large seismic movements when certain circumstances coincide.

"Using mathematical techniques, we have found patterns when medium-large earthquakes happen, that is, earthquakes greater than 4.4 on the Richter scale," said Francisco Martínez Álvarez, co-author of the study and a senior lecturer at the UPO.

The research, which will be published this month by the journal Expert Systems with Applications, is based on the data compiled by the Instituto Geográfico Nacional on 4,017 earthquakes between 3 and 7 on the Richter scale that occurred on the Iberian Peninsula and in the surrounding waters between 1978 and 2007.

The scientists applied clustering techniques to the data, which allowed them to find similarities between them and discover patterns that will help to forecast earthquakes.

The team concentrated on the two seismogenic regions with the most data (The Alboran Sea and the Western Azores-Gibraltar fault region) analysing three attributes: the magnitude of the seismic movement, the time elapsed since the last earthquake and the change in a parameter called the b-value from one earthquake and the other. The b-value reflects the tectonics of the region under analysis.

A high b-value means earthquakes are predominantly small in size and, therefore, the land has a low level of resistance. In contrast, a low value indicates that there are a relatively similar number of large and small seismic movements, which implies the land is more resistant.

Successful Forecast Probability Greater than 80%

"We have discovered the strong relationship between earthquakes and the parameter b-value, recording accuracy rates of more than 80%," Antonio Morales Esteban, another of the co-authors of the study and a senior lecturer at the US highlighted. "After the calculations had been performed, providing the circumstances and sequences we have determined to be forerunners occur, we obtain a significant success probability."

The technique summarises the forecasts in two factors: sensitivity (probability of an earthquake occurring after the patterns detected occur) and specificity (probability of an earthquake not occurring when no patterns have occurred).

The results reflect a sensitivity of 90% and specificity of 82.56% for the Alboran Sea region and 79.31% and 90.38% respectively for the seismogenic region of the Western Azores-Gibraltar Fault.

That is, there is a high probability of an earthquake in these regions immediately after the patterns discovered occur (high sensitivity) and, moreover, on most of such occasions, they only occur after the patterns discovered (high specificity).

At present the team is analysing the same data using their own algorithms based on "association rules," other mathematical techniques used to discover common events or those which fulfil specific conditions within a set of events.

"The results are promising, although I doubt we will ever be able to say that we are capable of forecasting an earthquake 100% accurately," Martínez Álvarez conceded.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Morales-Esteban, F. Martínez-Álvarez, A. Troncoso, J.L. Justo, C. Rubio-Escudero. Pattern recognition to forecast seismic time series. Expert Systems with Applications, 2010; 37 (12): 8333 DOI: 10.1016/j.eswa.2010.05.050

Cite This Page:

FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Researchers find mathematical patterns to forecast earthquakes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101202124116.htm>.
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. (2010, December 3). Researchers find mathematical patterns to forecast earthquakes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101202124116.htm
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Researchers find mathematical patterns to forecast earthquakes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101202124116.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) — Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

AFP (July 22, 2014) — As part of the 14-ship convoy that will accompany the Costa Concordia from the port of Giglio to the port of Genoa, there will be a boat carrying experts to look out for dolphins and whales from crossing the path of the Concordia. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) — New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins