A Review of Earthquake Statistics: Fault and Seismicity-Based Models, ETAS and BASS

  • James R. Holliday
  • Donald L. Turcotte
  • John B. Rundle
Part of the Pageoph Topical Volumes book series (PTV)


There are two fundamentally different approaches to assessing the probabilistic risk of earthquake occurrence. The first is fault based. The statistical occurrence of earthquakes is determined for mapped faults. The applicable models are renewal models in that a tectonic loading of faults is included. The second approach is seismicity based. The risk of future earthquakes is based on the past seismicity in the region. These are also known as cluster models. An example of a cluster model is the epidemic type aftershock sequence (ETAS) model. In this paper we discuss an alternative branching aftershock sequence (BASS) model. In the BASS model an initial, or seed, earthquake is specified. The subsequent earthquakes are obtained from statistical distributions of magnitude, time, and location. The magnitude scaling is based on a combination of the Gutenberg-Richter scaling relation and the modified Båth’s law for the scaling relation of aftershock magnitudes relative to the magnitude of the main earthquake. Omori’s law specifies the distribution of earthquake times, and a modified form of Omori’s law specifies the distribution of earthquake locations. Unlike the ETAS model, the BASS model is fully self-similar, and is not sensitive to the low magnitude cutoff.


Large Earthquake Main Shock Aftershock Sequence Large Aftershock Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Assessment 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • James R. Holliday
    • 1
    • 2
  • Donald L. Turcotte
    • 3
  • John B. Rundle
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Computational Science and EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaDavis
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsUniversity of CaliforniaDavis
  3. 3.Department of GeologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavis

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