Self-organization, the cascade model, and natural hazards

D L Turcotte, B D Malamud, F Guzzetti, P Reichenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

92 Citations (Scopus)


We consider the frequency-size statistics of two natural hazards, forest fires and landslides. Both appear to satisfy power-law (fractal) distributions to a good approximation under a wide variety of conditions. Two simple cellular-automata models have been proposed as analogs for this observed behavior, the forest fire model for forest fires and the sand pile model for landslides. The behavior of these models can be understood in terms of a self-similar inverse cascade. For the forest fire model the cascade consists of the coalescence of clusters of trees; for the sand pile model the cascade consists of the coalescence of metastable regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2530 - 2537
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2002
EventColloquium of the National-Academy-of-Science on Self-Organized Complexity in the Physical, Biological, and Social Sciences - IRVINE, CALIFORNIA
Duration: 1 Jan 2002 → …


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