Variability of ETAS parameters in global subduction zones and applications to mainshock–aftershock hazard assessment

Lizhong Zhang*, Maximilian J. Werner, Katsuichiro Goda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Megathrust earthquake sequences can impact buildings and infrastructure due to not only the mainshock but also the triggered aftershocks along the subduction interface and in the overriding crust. To give realistic ranges of aftershock simulations in regions with limited data and to provide time-dependent seismic hazard information right after a future giant shock, we assess the variability of the epidemic-type aftershock sequence (ETAS) model parameters in subduction zones that have experienced M ≥ 7:5 earthquakes, comparing estimates from long time windows with those from individual sequences. Our results show that the ETAS parameters are more robust if estimated from a long catalog than from individual sequences, given individual sequences have fewer data including missing early aftershocks. Considering known biases of the parameters (due to model formulation, the isotropic spatial aftershock distribution, and finite size effects of catalogs), we conclude that the variability of the ETAS parameters that we observe from robust estimates is not significant, neither across different subduction-zone regions nor as a function of maximum observed magnitudes. We also find that ETAS parameters do not change when multiple M 8.0–9.0 events are included in a region, mainly because an M 9.0 sequence dominates the number of events in the catalog. Based on the ETAS parameter estimates in the long time period window, we propose a set of ETAS parameters for future M 9.0 sequences for aftershock hazard assessment (K0 0:04 0:02, α 2:3, c 0:03 0:01, p 1:21 0:08, γ 1:61 0:29, d 23:48 18:17, and q 1:68 0:55). Synthetic catalogs created with the suggested ETAS parameters show good agreement with three observed M 9.0 sequences since 1965 (the 2004 M 9.1 Aceh–Andaman earthquake, the 2010 M 8.8 Maule earthquake, and the 2011 M 9.0 Tohoku earthquake).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-212
Number of pages22
JournalBulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

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