2,525 research outputs found

    General theory of the modified Gutenberg-Richter law for large seismic moments

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    The Gutenberg-Richter power law distribution of earthquake sizes is one of the most famous example illustrating self-similarity. It is well-known that the Gutenberg-Richter distribution has to be modified for large seismic moments, due to energy conservation and geometrical reasons. Several models have been proposed, either in terms of a second power law with a larger b-value beyond a cross-over magnitude, or based on a ``hard'' magnitude cut-off or a ``soft'' magnitude cut-off using an exponential taper. Since the large scale tectonic deformation is dominated by the very largest earthquakes and since their impact on loss of life and properties is huge, it is of great importance to constrain as much as possible the shape of their distribution. We present a simple and powerful probabilistic theoretical approach that shows that the Gamma distribution is the best model, under the two hypothesis that the Gutenberg-Richter power law distribution holds in absence of any condition (condition of criticality) and that one or several constraints are imposed, either based on conservation laws or on the nature of the observations themselves. The selection of the Gamma distribution does not depend on the specific nature of the constraint. We illustrate the approach with two constraints, the existence of a finite moment release rate and the observation of the size of a maximum earthquake in a finite catalog. Our predicted ``soft'' maximum magnitudes compare favorably with those obtained by Kagan [1997] for the Flinn-Engdahl regionalization of subduction zones, collision zones and mid-ocean ridges.Comment: 24 pages, including 3 tables, in press in Bull. Seism. Soc. A

    Acoustic fluidization for earthquakes?

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    Melosh [1996] has suggested that acoustic fluidization could provide an alternative to theories that are invoked as explanations for why some crustal faults appear to be weak. We show that there is a subtle but profound inconsistency in the theory that unfortunately invalidates the results. We propose possible remedies but must acknowledge that the relevance of acoustic fluidization remains an open question.Comment: 13 page

    Renormalization Group Analysis of the 2000-2002 anti-bubble in the US S&P 500 index: Explanation of the hierarchy of 5 crashes and Prediction

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    We propose a straightforward extension of our previously proposed log-periodic power law model of the ``anti-bubble'' regime of the USA market since the summer of 2000, in terms of the renormalization group framework to model critical points. Using a previous work by Gluzman and Sornette (2002) on the classification of the class of Weierstrass-like functions, we show that the five crashes that occurred since August 2000 can be accurately modelled by this approach, in a fully consistent way with no additional parameters. Our theory suggests an overall consistent organization of the investors forming a collective network which interact to form the pessimistic bearish ``anti-bubble'' regime with intermittent acceleration of the positive feedbacks of pessimistic sentiment leading to these crashes. We develop retrospective predictions, that confirm the existence of significant arbitrage opportunities for a trader using our model. Finally, we offer a prediction for the unknown future of the US S&P500 index extending over 2003 and 2004, that refines the previous prediction of Sornette and Zhou (2002).Comment: Latex document, 11 eps figures and 1 tabl

    2000-2003 Real Estate Bubble in the UK but not in the USA

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    In the aftermath of the burst of the ``new economy'' bubble in 2000, the Federal Reserve aggressively reduced short-term rates yields in less than two years from 6.5% to 1.25% in an attempt to coax forth a stronger recovery of the US economy. But, there is growing apprehension that this is creating a new bubble in real estate, as strong housing demand is fuelled by historically low mortgage rates. Are we going from Charybdis to Scylla? This question is all the more excruciating at a time when many other indicators suggest a significant deflationary risk. Using economic data, Federal Reserve Chairman A. Greenspan and Governor D.L. Kohn dismissed recently this possibility. Using the theory of critical phenomena resulting from positive feedbacks in markets, we confirm this view point for the US but find that mayhem may be in store for the UK: we unearth the unmistakable signatures (log-periodicity and power law super-exponential acceleration) of a strong unsustainable bubble there, which could burst before the end of the year 2003.Comment: Latex, 22 pages including 8 eps figures; A revised version accepted for publication in Physica

    The 2006-2008 Oil Bubble and Beyond

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    We present an analysis of oil prices in US$ and in other major currencies that diagnoses unsustainable faster-than-exponential behavior. This supports the hypothesis that the recent oil price run-up has been amplified by speculative behavior of the type found during a bubble-like expansion. We also attempt to unravel the information hidden in the oil supply-demand data reported by two leading agencies, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA). We suggest that the found increasing discrepancy between the EIA and IEA figures provides a measure of the estimation errors. Rather than a clear transition to a supply restricted regime, we interpret the discrepancy between the IEA and EIA as a signature of uncertainty, and there is no better fuel than uncertainty to promote speculation!Comment: 4 pages; 4 figures, discussion of the oil supply-demand view point and uncertaintie

    Is There a Real-Estate Bubble in the US?

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    We analyze the quarterly average sale prices of new houses sold in the USA as a whole, in the northeast, midwest, south, and west of the USA, in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia of the USA, to determine whether they have grown faster-than-exponential which we take as the diagnostic of a bubble. We find that 22 states (mostly Northeast and West) exhibit clear-cut signatures of a fast growing bubble. From the analysis of the S&P 500 Home Index, we conclude that the turning point of the bubble will probably occur around mid-2006.Comment: 7 Elsaet Latex pages + 9 eps figure

    Predictability of catastrophic events: material rupture, earthquakes, turbulence, financial crashes and human birth

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    We propose that catastrophic events are "outliers" with statistically different properties than the rest of the population and result from mechanisms involving amplifying critical cascades. Applications and the potential for prediction are discussed in relation to the rupture of composite materials, great earthquakes, turbulence and abrupt changes of weather regimes, financial crashes and human parturition (birth).Comment: Latex document of 22 pages including 6 ps figures, in press in PNA

    Discrete scale invariance and complex dimensions

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    We discuss the concept of discrete scale invariance and how it leads to complex critical exponents (or dimensions), i.e. to the log-periodic corrections to scaling. After their initial suggestion as formal solutions of renormalization group equations in the seventies, complex exponents have been studied in the eighties in relation to various problems of physics embedded in hierarchical systems. Only recently has it been realized that discrete scale invariance and its associated complex exponents may appear ``spontaneously'' in euclidean systems, i.e. without the need for a pre-existing hierarchy. Examples are diffusion-limited-aggregation clusters, rupture in heterogeneous systems, earthquakes, animals (a generalization of percolation) among many other systems. We review the known mechanisms for the spontaneous generation of discrete scale invariance and provide an extensive list of situations where complex exponents have been found. This is done in order to provide a basis for a better fundamental understanding of discrete scale invariance. The main motivation to study discrete scale invariance and its signatures is that it provides new insights in the underlying mechanisms of scale invariance. It may also be very interesting for prediction purposes.Comment: significantly extended version (Oct. 27, 1998) with new examples in several domains of the review paper with the same title published in Physics Reports 297, 239-270 (1998

    Causal Slaving of the U.S. Treasury Bond Yield Antibubble by the Stock Market Antibubble of August 2000

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    Using the descriptive method of log-periodic power laws (LPPL) based on a theory of behavioral herding, we use a battery of parametric and non-parametric tests to demonstrate the existence of an antibubble in the yields with maturities larger than 1 year since October 2000. The concept of ``antibubble'' describes the existence of a specific LPPL pattern that is thought to reflect collective herding effects. From the dependence of the parameters of the LPPL formula as a function of yield maturities and using lagged cross-correlation calculations between the S&P 500 and bond yields, we find strong evidence for the following causality: Stock Market →\to Fed Reserve (Federal funds rate) →\to short-term yields →\to long-term yields (as well as a direct and instantaneous influence of the stock market on the long-term yields). Our interpretation is that the FRB is ``causally slaved'' to the stock market (at least for the studied period), because the later is (taken as) a proxy for the present and future health of the economy.Comment: 26 Elsevier Latex pages including 11 eps figures (color online
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