Newswise – The “Dragon King” theory was proposed based on the physics of complexity. According to this theory, “Dragon King” events deviate from the power law distribution as statistical outliers and are remarkably predictable. In 2012, coinciding with the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese lunar calendar, The European Physical Journal (EPJ) dedicated a special topic to the “Dragon King” theory.

A significant moment of greatness on January 1, 2024 MwA magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck under Japan’s Noto Peninsula. Prior to this seismic event, extensive studies were carried out in the region, focusing primarily on the earthquake swarm that erupted beneath the Noto Peninsula in November 2020.

A team of researchers from China examined the scaling law of the selected sequence using data from the Japan Metrological Agency (JMA) focal mechanism catalog and identified the Mw7.5 earthquake as having characteristics of a “seismic dragon king.”

“We applied the load-unload response ratio (LURR) to analyze earthquakes in the immediate vicinity of the Noto Peninsula, where pre-mainshock seismicity mainly affected the aftershock zone of the Mw6.7 Noto-Hanto earthquake in 2007 and the ongoing earthquake swarm. “, explains first author of the study, Yue Liu. “The minimum magnitudes of smaller events gradually decreased from about Mv 2 to 0 between 1995 and 2006, likely due to the integration of the Hi-net and other dense seismic networks during this period.”

The team reported theirs Results in the KeAi Journal Advances in earthquake research.

The LURR method proposed by Xiangchu Yin, the lead and co-author of this study, has been successfully used in various earthquakes worldwide. This damage mechanics-based approach uses seismic event responses to tidal stress fluctuations induced by celestial bodies such as the Sun and Moon to measure the mechanical state of the medium. Liu, a student of Yin, observed a close correspondence between the variation of LURR before the Mw7.5 earthquake and theoretical predictions.

Further research by the team is underway, but Yin cautioned that caution should be exercised when interpreting results from retrospective case studies, emphasizing that such analyzes must be approached with caution despite their potential to improve understanding of earthquake mechanics. Meanwhile, Yongxian Zhang, another Yin student and co-author, highlighted the prevalence of seismic swarms in China and worldwide.





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Financing information

National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC, contract numbers U2039207 and 41704093).


Advances in earthquake research

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