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Apr 15, 2020

Timing of Earth’s biggest earthquakes follows a ‘devil’s staircase’ pattern

Posted by in category: mathematics

The devil staircase findings.


April 14 (UPI) — The timing of large, shallow earthquakes across the globe follows a mathematical pattern known as the devil’s staircase, according to a new study of seismic sequences.

Previously, scientists and their models have theorized that earthquake sequences happen periodically or quasi-periodically, following cycles of growing tension and release. Researchers call it the elastic rebound model. In reality, periodic earthquake sequences are surprisingly rare.

Instead, scientists found global earthquake sequences tend to occur in clusters — outbursts of seismic events separated by long but irregular intervals of silence.

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