Seismicity of the Circum-Pacific and Seismic Risk: A Comparison with Volcanism

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
About 74% of global seismic energy release occurs in the Circum-Pacific zone. Worldwide, about 71% of seismic energy release is in the form of shallow earthquakes, 27% as intermediate, and 2% as deep earthquakes. Seismic energy release is variable in time and has been shown to correlate with the amplitude of the Chandler wobble. It was high during the period 1949 to 1967, and is now at a rather low level, with the latest earthquake over M = 8.0 having taken place in Indonesia in 1971. The average worldwide recurrence rate for the expected largest magnitude earthquake (M "9.5) has been estimated as several tens of years, in marked contrast to the several tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years separating the largest volcanic eruptions. Geological studies are needed to establish reliable mean intervals between large earthquakes, and to detect the e;:istence of long-term fluctuations in the ste of occurrence. Seismic gaps have proved seful in static forecasting of large earthquakes, by identifying places where closer study of the variation with time of seismicity, deformation, and other parameters, may lead to the dynamic p_ediction of time, place and magnitude of earthquakes. The model of stress concentration at asperities explains the main features of seismicity in the Circum-Pacific. Slow earthquakes have been detected instrumentally, notably an event immediately preceding the 22 May 1960 Chile earthquake, the largest this century. It seems likely that this type of deformation may explain both instrumentally detected and macroscopically observed pre-seismic deformation, as well as unusual animal behaviour reported before some earthquakes. Seismic and volcanic events are interdependent, with large earthquakes commonly triggering eruptions. Melting of rock and intrusion of magma is likely to accompany many earthquakes.
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