Black swans, power laws, and dragon-kings: Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, wildfires, floods, and SOC models

M. K. Sachs, M. R. Yoder, D. L. Turcotte, J. B. Rundle, B. D. Malamud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Extreme events that change global society have been characterized as black swans. The frequency-size distributions of many natural phenomena are often well approximated by power-law (fractal) distributions. An important question is whether the probability of extreme events can be estimated by extrapolating the power-law distributions. Events that exceed these extrapolations have been characterized as dragon-kings. In this paper we consider extreme events for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, landslides and floods. We also consider the extreme event behavior of three models that exhibit self-organized criticality (SOC): the slider-block, forest-fire, and sand-pile models. Since extrapolations using power-laws are widely used in probabilistic hazard assessment, the occurrence of dragon-king events have important practical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-182
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean physical journal-Special topics
Volume205
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

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