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Natural ComplexityA Modeling Handbook$
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Paul Charbonneau

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691176840

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691176840.001.0001

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(p.174) 8 Earthquakes
Natural Complexity

Paul Charbonneau

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the natural complexity of earthquakes. Earthquakes release energy that is quantified by their magnitude m, a logarithmic measure of seismic wave amplitudes. The number N of earthquakes having a magnitude larger than m in a given area and time interval is expressed by the Gutenberg–Richter law. This power-law reflects scale invariance in the dynamics of earthquakes, and the chapter begins by reproducing this property using a simple mechanical model, the Burridge–Knopoff stick–slip model of seismic faults. The chapter then discusses the Olami–Feder–Christensen lattice-based implementation of the Burridge–Knopoff earthquake model using the Python code. It also describes a representative simulation on a 128 x 128 lattice, the behavior of the Olami–Feder–Christensen model, and earthquake forecasting. The chapter includes exercises and further computational explorations, along with a suggested list of materials for further reading.

Keywords:   natural complexity, earthquakes, power-law, Gutenberg–Richter law, scale invariance, Burridge–Knopoff stick–slip model, Python code, lattice, Olami–Feder–Christensen model, earthquake forecasting

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