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Improving Physics‐Based Aftershock Forecasts During the 2016–2017 Central Italy Earthquake Cascade

Simone Mancini, Margarita Segou, Maximilian J. Werner, & Camilla Cattania

Published August 14, 2019, SCEC Contribution #9015

The 2016-2017 Central Apennines earthquake sequence is a recent example of how damages from subsequent aftershocks can exceed those caused by the initial mainshock. Recent studies reveal that physics-based aftershock forecasts present comparable skills to their statistical counterparts, but their performance remains a controversial subject. Here, we employ physics-based models that combine the elasto-static stress transfer with rate-and-state friction laws, and short-term statistical ETAS models to describe the spatiotemporal evolution of the earthquake cascade. We then track the absolute and relative model performance using log-likelihood statistics for a 1-year horizon after the 24th August 2016 Mw=6.0 Amatrice earthquake. We perform a series of pseudo-prospective experiments by producing 7 classes of Coulomb rate-state (CRS) forecasts with gradual increase in data input quality and model complexity. Our goal is to investigate the influence of data quality on the predictive power of physics-based models and to assess the comparative performance of the forecasts in critical time windows, such as the period following the 26th October Visso earthquakes leading to the 30th October Mw=6.5 Norcia mainshock.
We find that (1) the spatiotemporal performance of the basic CRS models is poor and progressively improves as more refined data are used, (2) CRS forecasts are about as informative as ETAS when secondary triggering effects from M3+ earthquakes are included together with spatially variable slip models, spatially heterogeneous receiver faults, and optimized rate-and-state parameters. After the Visso earthquakes, the more elaborate CRS model outperforms ETAS highlighting the importance of the static stress transfer for operational earthquake forecasting.

Mancini, S., Segou, M., Werner, M. J., & Cattania, C. (2019). Improving Physics‐Based Aftershock Forecasts During the 2016–2017 Central Italy Earthquake Cascade. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 124, 8626-8643. doi: 10.1029/2019JB017874. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019JB017874

Related Projects & Working Groups
CSEP, Earthquake Forecasting and Predictability (EFP)