Statistical investigations on diurnal and annual periodicity and on tidal triggering of local earthquakes in Central Europe

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U. Ulbrich
L. Ahomer
A. Ebel


Two regional earthquake catalogues are analysed in order to investigate the existence of diurnal, annual and Earth-tide related periodicities of the occurrence time of seismic events. The first earthquake catalogue covers the total region of the Federal Republic of Germany for the time period 1021-1979 (1530 events) and is investigated with respect to the existence of diurnal and annual periodicities. With the help of the graphical representation for Schuster's test, a midnight and a midday maximum are separated for different intensity classes. A winter maximum present in the data prior to 1930 is absent in the more recent data. It is argued that both diurnal and annual maxima are artifacts due to data sampling problems. The second earthquake catalogue refers to the western part of Germany (Lower Rhine Graben, Rhenish Massif) and the time period 1979-1984 (1012 events of magnitude ML = 0.0–5.1). For the events of this catalogue, a tidal phase is computed according to a model for the triggering of the predominant dip-slip earthquakes. The distribution of phases supports the triggering hypothesis (at the 99% significance level if Schuster's test is applied).

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Ulbrich, U., Ahomer, L., & Ebel, A. (1987). Statistical investigations on diurnal and annual periodicity and on tidal triggering of local earthquakes in Central Europe. Journal of Geophysics, 61(1), 150-157. Retrieved from
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