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Natural time analysis of critical phenomena: The case of pre-fracture electromagnetic emissions
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Criticality of complex systems reveals itself in various ways. One way to monitor a system at critical state is to analyze its observable manifestations using the recently introduced method of natural time. Pre-fracture electromagnetic (EM) emissions, in agreement to laboratory experiments, have been consistently detected in the MHz band prior to significant earthquakes. It has been proposed that these emissions stem from the fracture of the heterogeneous materials surrounding the strong entities (asperities) distributed along the fault, preventing the relative slipping. It has also been proposed that the fracture of heterogeneous material could be described in analogy to the critical phase transitions in statistical physics. In this work, the natural time analysis is for the first time applied to the pre-fracture MHz EM signals revealing their critical nature. Seismicity and pre-fracture EM emissions should be two sides of the same coin concerning the earthquake generation process. Therefore, we also examine the corresponding foreshock seismic activity, as another manifestation of the same complex system at critical state. We conclude that the foreshock seismicity data present criticality features as well.
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