The Spatial Scale of Detected Seismicity

A. Mignan, C. C. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


An experimental method for the spatial resolution analysis of the earthquake frequency-magnitude distribution is introduced in order to identify the intrinsic spatial scale of the detected seismicity phenomenon. We consider the unbounded magnitude range m ∈ (−∞, +∞), which includes incomplete data below the completeness magnitude mc. By analyzing a relocated earthquake catalog of Taiwan, we find that the detected seismicity phenomenon is scale-variant for m ∈ (−∞, +∞) with its spatial grain a function of the configuration of the seismic network, while seismicity is known to be scale invariant for m ∈ [mc, +∞). Correction for data incompleteness for m < mc based on the knowledge of the spatial scale of the process allows extending the analysis of the Gutenberg–Richter law and of the fractal dimension to lower magnitudes. This shall allow verifying the continuity of universality of these parameters over a wider magnitude range. Our results also suggest that the commonly accepted Gaussian model of earthquake detection might be an artifact of observation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-124
Number of pages8
JournalPure and Applied Geophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Completeness magnitude
  • Earthquake detection
  • Earthquake magnitude
  • Spatial scale


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