The Unified Scaling Law for Earthquakes


This paper is a review of a long-continued research by many Russian and foreign scientists in the theory of self-organized criticality (SOC) in application to seismological data. We mean the Unified Scaling Law for Earthquakes (USLE). This law uses the spatial similarity of earthquake epicenters to derive a generalization of the classical Gutenberg–Richter relation. We discuss why this generalization is needed for practical problems that involve space–time parameters of seismicity, and we point out possible restrictions on practical applications. Several different methods are set forth for estimating the constants in USLE with examples of their practical use.

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We thank the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) for the financial support of this paper, project no. 19-15-50252.

Our own research reviewed in this paper was carried out for the State Assignment of the Institute of Earthquake Prediction Theory for 2019‒2021.

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Correspondence to A. K. Nekrasova.

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Translated by A. Petrosyan

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Nekrasova, A.K., Kossobokov, V.G. The Unified Scaling Law for Earthquakes. J. Volcanolog. Seismol. 14, 353–372 (2020).

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  • earthquake
  • Gutenberg–Richter relation
  • epicenter distribution
  • self-similarity
  • Unified Scaling Law for Earthquakes