Predicting the maximum earthquake magnitude from seismic data in Israel and its neighboring countries

Mark Last, Nitzan Rabinowitz, Gideon Leonard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This paper explores several data mining and time series analysis methods for predicting the magnitude of the largest seismic event in the next year based on the previously recorded seismic events in the same region. The methods are evaluated on a catalog of 9,042 earthquake events, which took place between 01/01/1983 and 31/12/2010 in the area of Israel and its neighboring countries. The data was obtained from the Geophysical Institute of Israel. Each earthquake record in the catalog is associated with one of 33 seismic regions. The data was cleaned by removing foreshocks and aftershocks. In our study, we have focused on ten most active regions, which account for more than 80% of the total number of earthquakes in the area. The goal is to predict whether the maximum earthquake magnitude in the following year will exceed the median of maximum yearly magnitudes in the same region. Since the analyzed catalog includes only 28 years of complete data, the last five annual records of each region (referring to the years 2006â€"2010) are kept for testing while using the previous annual records for training. The predictive features are based on the Gutenberg-Richter Ratio as well as on some new seismic indicators based on the moving averages of the number of earthquakes in each area. The new predictive features prove to be much more useful than the indicators traditionally used in the earthquake prediction literature. The most accurate result (AUC = 0.698) is reached by the Multi-Objective Info-Fuzzy Network (M-IFN) algorithm, which takes into account the association between two target variables: the number of earthquakes and the maximum earthquake magnitude during the same year.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0146101
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


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