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*

By LEON KINOPOFF AND J. K. GARD-NER

INSTITUTIE OF GEOPHYSICS, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA (LOS ANGELE-S)

**Communicated June 3, 1969
**

Abstract.-The usual bias in earthquake catalogs against shocks of small

magnitudes can be removed by testing the randomness of the magnitudes of

successive shocks. The southern California catalog, 1933-1967, is found to be

unbiased in the sense of the test at magnitude 4 or above; the cutoff is improved

to II = 3 for the subeatalog 1903-1967.

**We consider the question of the completeness of a catalog of earthquakes for
**

the purposes of statistical analysis. The catalog is usually a compilation of ob-

servations with a network of finitely spaced instruments, each with possible

different sensitivities. Small earthquake events which occur near a seismograph

will be recorded while events of the same small magnitude occurring at distance

from the nearest seismograph may not be recorded. Sufficiently large events

will be tabulated no matter where they are located. Thus, there is a bias in any

catalog against small shocks.

For any finite threshold of instrumental sensitivity and for any instrumental

density, we assume there exists a threshold of seismic magnitudes, MIT, above

which all events in a given region have a large probability of being recorded by at

least one station of the network. Let the subcatalog with all events whose

magnitudes M > M-T be called a homogeneous catalog.

We create the subcatalog C(8) out of the original catalog C; C(n) is a chrono-

logical list of all events in C with magnitudes

M > Mn = ML - loAMI

where M1L is the largest earthquake magnitude in the catalog and AM1 is some

selected interval of magnitudes. Evidently the chronologically consecutive

events in C(n) need not be consecutive in C(n+1).

We take as the null hypothesis' the hypothesis that the sequence of magnitudes

of chronologically successive events in a homogeneous catalog is random (RI).

We will take as the critical region for this hypothesis the condition P = 0.01 for

type I errors.2 Thus, the null hypothesis will be rejected for those catalogs C(n)

with Jin < 3MT. We call these catalogs C(n) (M1n > MT) nonrandom (NR). NR

catalogs are those whose probability of being generated by a random sequence of

magnitudes is less than 0.01. We cannot say that the catalogs C(n)M(3ln > MIT)

are random. We can say, however, that these catalogs are not nonrandom

(NNR). Thus NNR catalogs are those subcatalogs of the original from which

all NR catalogs have been rejected. We find that all subeatalogs in which

events whose magnitudes M > Mn for all MCn > M are NNR.

For each C(n), construct the matrix of transition numbers Tpq(n); Tp,(n) is the

number of events in C(n) with magnitudes

31L - (q + 1)AM1 < Al < AIL - qAAI,

1051

1052 GEOPHYSICS: KNOPOFF AND GARDNER PROC. N. A. S.

**which follow chronologically consecutively upon events of magnitudes
**

1M1L - (P + 1)A/M < Al < AIL - PAM-

We may test the hypothesis by comparing the distribution Tpq (n) with a distri-

bution of randomly selected magnitudes Tpq(n). Tables of Tpq (n) are called

contingency tables.2 Let

S (n) - E Tpq()

q=O

be the total number of events in C(n) with magnitudes

31L -(P + 1)AM

/ < il K < IL - PAM,

not counting the first event. It is not difficult to see that SP(n) events distributed

in proportion to the actual occurrence Sq (n) will lead to the distribution

T (n) =8(n) Sq(n)

where

n-1

R(n) =E S (n)

p =o

is the total number of events il C(n) not counting the first event.

The comparison of T(n) with T(n) may be made by a x2 test in the usual wvay.

The T and T matrices are compacted to a rectangular matrix so that all Tpq(n) >

5, where the elements along the boundary of the compacted matrix are the sums

of all the matrix elements in the same row or column with magnitudes greater

(or less) than or equal to it. If the compacted matrix is a rectangular array of

P X Q elements, the number of degrees of freedom is d = (P - 1) X (Q - 1).

We maximize d in the compaction.

The above test was made on the Pasadena Catalog of Southern California

Events3 w-hich lists 10,404 events occurring in the "Southern California Statistical

Area"3 during the 34-year period 1934-1967. Over time, the network had a

varying density and quality of stations; M1L = 73/4 corresponding to the Kern

County earthquake (July 21, 1952). We take AMl = 1/2, corresponding to the

method of reporting magnitudes in 1934 but later refined. In Table 1, ware give

the probabilities of fit by Tpq,(n of the various compacted observed sequences of

magnitudes. The dramatic change in character of the table for catalogs C

truncated at magnitudes 33/4 and above, compared with those truncated below-

this value, is noteworthy. Since the magnitudes are reported at integer and half-

integer values from 1934 to 1944, it is evident that 31 = 3 3/4 is an artificial subdivi-

sion between the discrete values AM = 31/2 and A1 = 4. We infer that shocks

with 11 < 31/2 were not plentifully enough reported in the original catalog;

distribution of these events through the 34-year chronology is significantly

nonrandom at a probability level of less than 1 per cent. We conclude that the

reporting of shocks with IM > 4 has been adequately performed. The catalog

VOL. 63, 1969 GEOPHYSICS: KNOPOFF AND GARDNER 1053

**TABLE 1. Analysis of the Southern California Catalog 1933-1967.
**

n M. P XQ d R(n) Probability

5 51/4 2 X2 1 55 60%

6 43/4 3 X 2 2 151 30

7 41/4 3 X 3 4 503 30

8 33/4 4 X 3 6 1409 1-

9 3'/4 4 X 4 9 345,4 K<1

10 23/4 5 X 4 12 7328 <<1

11 21/ 6 X5 20 9525 <<1

12 13/4 7 X 6 30 10,275 <<«1

13 11/4 8 X 6 35 10,383 <<1

14 3/4 8 X 6 35 10,398 <<1

15 1/4 8 X 6 35 10,398 <<1

16 - 1/4 8 X 6 35 10,404 <<1

**truncated to include shocks with Ml > 4 had only 1409 events remaining from the
**

original list.

It is to be noted that the NNR hypothesis is assumed to apply both to shocks

in the charging cycle4 and to aftershocks. These two shock populations have

different statistical distributions. In ordinary statistical operations, the two

populations should be separated in some way, a problem that is burdened with

pitfalls by virtue of the absence of a proper definition of an aftershock. Thus

the success of the NNR hypothesis as applied to the entire catalog, and demon-

strated in Table 1, indicates that we need not concern ourselves with the problem

of the separation of the two problems at this stage. The applicability of the

NNR hypothesis to both the aftershock and the charging cycle populations

implies that the separation of the two can be made subsequent to this calculation,

thereby reducing computational demands. In a later paper, the separation of

the two populations will be made empirically, for a homogeneous catalog; for

the separation algorithm that will be used, the concatenation of the two processes

in this order is the less-consuming use of computer time.

In view of the foregoing, it may be possible to find some circumstances in

which the NNR hypothesis does not apply to both populations equally as readily.

One should look critically, perhaps, at catalogs containing large numbers of earth-

quake swarms. The Southern California Catalog does include some swarms in

the Imperial Valley, in Walker Pass, and possibly elsewhere. If this contamina-

tion of the catalog were removed, the threshold of MT = 33/4 might be lowered

somewhat; we guess that the amount of lowering will be small.

In view of the discussion about earthquake swarms, especially in the Imperial

Valley, the possibility exists that the catalogs could be further subdivided into

those corresponding to subregions of Southern California and into those cor-

responding to intervals of time shorter than the original 34-year interval. We

have looked into the latter problem and have considered operations similar to

those above, on the 1944-1967 and 1953-1967 catalogs. The date 1944 repre-

sents the time when the method of reporting magnitudes to the nearest 0.5 was

changed to reporting magnitudes to the nearest 0.1. The date 1953 is significant

in view of the improvement of instrumentation in southern California subsequent

to the Kern County earthquake. The results are shown in Table 2. Evi-

dently an improvement in MT took place in 1953, but no improvement occurred

1054 GEOPHYSICS: KNOPOFF AND GARDNER PROC. N. A. S.

**TABLE 2. Probabilities that magnitudes in Cons are generated randomly for three subcatalogs
**

of Southern California Catalog.

1934-1967 1944-1967 1953-1967

Mn (%) (%)

5'/4 60 70

43/4 30 20

41/4 30 70 30

33/4 1- 1 30

31 /4 <<1 << 1 50

23/4 <<1 <<1 1-

21/4 <<1 «<1 <<1

13/4 <<1 <<1 <<1

11/4 <<1 << 1 << 1

3/4 <<1 (<1 K<1

1/4 <<1 << <<1

-1/4 <<1 <<1 <<1

**in 1944; in 1953, the threshold was lowered to about MT = 3. There is an
**

insufficient number of shocks M > 5 to construct an adequate x2 test on the

contingency table for the 1953 catalog. Similar remarks may be made about the

number of shocks with M > 6 in the two larger catalogs.

There is a rather remarkable agreement between the results presented in

Table 2 and the qualitative impressions one may have about (1) the major

changes in the seismographic network over the years and (2) the rough statistical

evidence available about the quality of the tabulation of the catalog at various

times. This agreement implies that the method presented above is indeed a

technique for performing the qualitative evaluation quantitatively. These

conclusions regarding MT values are borne out by the descriptions of the changes

in method of inclusion of small shocks in the catalog over time.3

* Publication no. 741, Institute of Geophysics, University of California (Los Angeles).

**This research was supported by U.S. Atomic Energy Commission contract AT(11-1)34-146.
**

1 Cramer, H., Mathematical Methods of Statistics (Princeton University Press, 1946).

2 Hoel, P. G., Introduction to Mathematical Statistics (New York: John Wiley, 1962), 3rd ed.

3 Nordquist, J. M., Bull. Seismol. Soc. Amer., 54, 1003-1011 (1964).

4 Burridge, R., and L. Knopoff, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Amer., 57, 341-347 (1967).

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