Aftershock Statistics of the 1999 Chi-Chi, Taiwan Earthquake and the Concept of Omori Times

Ya Ting Lee, Donald L. Turcotte, John B. Rundle, Chien Chih Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In this paper we consider the statistics of the aftershock sequence of the m = 7. 65 20 September 1999 Chi-Chi, Taiwan earthquake. We first consider the frequency-magnitude statistics. We find good agreement with Gutenberg-Richter scaling but find that the aftershock level is anomalously high. This level is quantified using the difference in magnitude between the main shock and the largest inferred aftershock δm*: Typically, δm* is in the range 0.8-1.5, but for the Chi-Chi earthquake the value is δm* = 0.03. We suggest that this may be due to an aseismic slow-earthquake component of rupture. We next consider the decay rate of aftershock activity following the earthquake. The rates are well approximated by the modified Omori's law. We show that the distribution of interoccurrence times between aftershocks follow a nonhomogeneous Poisson process. We introduce the concept of Omori times to study the merging of the aftershock activity with the background seismicity. The Omori time is defined to be the mean interoccurrence time over a fixed number of aftershocks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • aftershocks
  • Earthquakes
  • interoccurrence times
  • Omori times


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