Asymmetry in Earthquake Interevent Time Intervals

Yongwen Zhang, Yosef Ashkenazy, Shlomo Havlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Here we focus on a basic statistical measure of earthquake catalogs that has not been studied before, the asymmetry of interevent time series (e.g., reflecting the tendency to have more aftershocks than spontaneous earthquakes). We define the asymmetry metric as the ratio between the number of positive interevent time increments minus negative increments and the total (positive plus negative) number of increments. Such asymmetry commonly exists in time series data for nonlinear geophysical systems like river flow which decays slowly and increases rapidly. We find that earthquake interevent time series are significantly asymmetric, where the asymmetry function exhibits a significant crossover to weak asymmetry at large lag index. We suggest that the Omori law can be associated with the large asymmetry at short time intervals below the crossover whereas overlapping aftershock sequences and the spontaneous events can be associated with a fast decay of asymmetry above the crossover. We show that the asymmetry is better reproduced by a recently modified Epidemic-Type Aftershock Sequence (ETAS) model with two triggering processes in comparison to the standard ETAS model which only has one.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021JB022454
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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