An accelerating precursor to predict “time-to-failure” in creep and volcanic eruptions

Shengwang Hao, Hang Yang, Derek Elsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Real-time prediction by monitoring of the evolution of response variables is a central goal in predicting rock failure. A linear relation Ω̇Ω¨−1=Ctf−t has been developed to describe the time to failure, where Ω represents a response quantity, C is a constant and tf represents the failure time. Observations from laboratory creep failure experiments and precursors to volcanic eruptions are used to test the validity of the approach. Both cumulative and simple moving window techniques are developed to perform predictions and to illustrate the effects of data selection on the results. Laboratory creep failure experiments on granites show that the linear relation works well during the final approach to failure. For blind prediction, the simple moving window technique is preferred because it always uses the most recent data and excludes effects of early data deviating significantly from the predicted trend. When the predicted results show only small fluctuations, failure is imminent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-262
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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