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Utsu & Ogata (1995). The centenary of the Omori formula for a decay law of aftershock activity

Bibliographic details:

Utsu, T., & Ogata, Y. (1995). The centenary of the Omori formula for a decay law of aftershock activity. Journal of Physics of the Earth, 43(1), 1-33.‏



The Omori formula n(t)=K(t+c)-1 and its modified form n(t)=K(t+c)-P have been successfully applied to many aftershock sequences since the former was proposed just 100 years ago. This paper summarizes studies using these formulae. The problems of fitting these formulae and related point process models to observational data are discussed mainly. Studies published during the last 1/3 century confirmed that the modified Omori formula generally provides an appropriate representation of the temporal variation of aftershock activity. Although no systematic dependence of the index p has been found on the magnitude of the main shock and on the lowest limit of magnitude above which aftershocks are counted, this index (usually p = 0.9-1.5) differs from sequence to. sequence. This variability may be related to the tectonic condition of the region such as structural heterogeneity, stress, and temperature, but it is not clear which factor is most significant in controlling the p value. The constant c is a controversial quantity. It is strongly influenced by incomplete detection of small aftershocks in the early stage of sequence. Careful analyses indicate that c is positive at least for some sequences. Point process models for the temporal pattern of shallow seismicity must include the existence of aftershocks, most suitably expressed by the modified Omori law. Among such models, the ETAS model seems to best represent the main features of seismicity with only five parameters. An anomalous decrease in aftershock activity below the level predicted by the modified Omori formula sometimes precedes a large aftershock. An anomalous decrease in seismic activity of a region below the level predicted by the ETAS model is sometimes followed by a large earthquake in the same or in a neighboring region.