Rundle, John B.; Andrea Donnellan; Geoffrey Fox and James P. Crutchfield

The earthquake cycle of stress accumulation and release is associated with the elastic rebound hypothesis proposed by H.F. Reid following the M7.9 San Francisco earthquake of 1906. However, observing details of the actual values of time- and space-dependent tectonic stress is not possible at the present time. In two previous papers, we have proposed methods to image the earthquake cycle in California by means of proxy variables. These variables are based on correlations in patterns of small earthquakes that occur nearly continuously in time. The purpose of the present paper is to compare these two methods by evaluating their information content using decision thresholds and Receiver Operating Characteristic methods together with Shannon information entropy. Using seismic data from 1940 to present in California, we find that both methods provide nearly equivalent information on the rise and fall of earthquake correlations associated with major earthquakes in the region. We conclude that the resulting time series can be viewed as proxies for the cycle of stress accumulation and release associated with major tectonic activity.