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Time-Dependent vs. Time-Independent Views of Seismicity

A time-dependent view of seismicity enables more accurate assessments of your earthquake risk than a time-independent view.

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Time-Independent View

Uses a mean recurrence rate

Recurrence rate is assumed to be constant throughout time

Does not account for the impact of recent events


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Time-Dependent View

Considers the buildup of strain on faults over time in addition to historical earthquake data

Allows the recurrence rate to vary with time to reflect changes in the seismic environment

Uses kinematic modeling of GPS data to identify “locked” faults and the impact of recent events


Learn how kinematic modeling informed AIR’s view of seismic risk in New Zealand.

Read the AIR Current

A time-dependent view of seismicity enables the modeling of changes in rupture potential for faults affected by the 2016 M7.8 Kaikoura earthquake, whereas a time-independent view would not.

New Zealand Rupture Map

Difference In Rupture Probability




For a comprehensive view of earthquake risk, a time-dependent view of seismicity should be used.

The updated AIR Earthquake Model for New Zealand includes:


Time-dependent and time-independent views of seismicity for both 10K and 100K simulated years


Explicit modeling of complex multi-fault rupture scenarios


Shake, tsunami, landslide, liquefaction, and fire-following sub-perils


The most detailed soil maps available


A trans-ocean basin view of tsunami risk

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Lessons learned from the 2010/2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence, the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, the 2011 M9.0 Tohoku, Japan, earthquake, and other worldwide earthquakes




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