Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Phys Rev Lett. 2002 Apr 29;88(17):178501. Epub 2002 Apr 10.

Unified scaling law for earthquakes.

Author information

  • 1Department of Mathematics, Imperial College, Queen's Gate, London SW7 2BZ, United Kingdom.


We show that the distribution of waiting times between earthquakes occurring in California obeys a simple unified scaling law valid from tens of seconds to tens of years. The short time clustering, commonly referred to as aftershocks, is nothing but the short time limit of the general hierarchical properties of earthquakes. There is no unique operational way of distinguishing between main shocks and aftershocks. In the unified law, the Gutenberg-Richter b value, the exponent -1 of the Omori law for aftershocks, and the fractal dimension d(f) of earthquakes appear as critical indices.

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for American Physical Society
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk