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《地震学报(英文版)》 2017-04
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Identifying the occurrence time of an impending major earthquake: a review

Panayiotis A.Varotsos;Nicholas V.Sarlis;Efthimios S.Skordas;Department of Physics, Section of Solid State Physics and Solid Earth Physics Institute, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens;  
The procedure through which the occurrence time of an impending major earthquake can be determined is reviewed in the light of the recent advances. This can be achieved by analyzing in natural time the seismicity in the candidate area. To apply this general procedure, we need two important elements: first, to know when we should start the analysis, i.e., set the natural time equal to zero. This is the time at which the system enters the critical stage. Second a reliable estimation of the candidate epicentral area. If geoelectrical measurements are taken and the VAN method(after the initials of the three researchers Varotsos, Alexopoulos and Nomicos) is applied, both these elements become available upon the recording of a precursory Seismic Electric Signals(SES) activity, because its initiation marks the time when the system enters the critical stage, and in addition the SES data enable the determination of the epicentral area of the impending mainshock. On the other hand,if geoelectrical data are lacking, we make use of the following two recent findings by means of natural time analysis: First, the fluctuations of the order parameter of seismicity in a large area exhibit a minimum a few months before a major earthquake almost simultaneously with the initiation of an SES activity. Second, a spatiotemporal study of this minimum unveils an estimate of the epicentral area of the impending major earthquake. Two examples are given that refer to the strongest earthquakes that occurred in Greece and Japan during the last 3 decades, i.e., the M_W6.9 earthquake in southwestern Greece on 14 February 2008 and the M_W9.0 Tohoku earthquake in Japan on 11 March 2011.
【CateGory Index】: P315.7
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