Universality of power-law exponents by means of maximum-likelihood estimation

Víctor Navas-Portella, Álvaro González, Isabel Serra, Eduard Vives, Álvaro Corral

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Power-law-type distributions are extensively found when studying the behavior of many complex systems. However, due to limitations in data acquisition, empirical datasets often only cover a narrow range of observation, making it difficult to establish power-law behavior unambiguously. In this work we present a statistical procedure to merge different datasets, with two different aims. First, we obtain a broader fitting range for the statistics of different experiments or observations of the same system. Second, we establish whether two or more different systems may belong to the same universality class. By means of maximum likelihood estimation, this methodology provides rigorous statistical information to discern whether power-law exponents characterizing different datasets can be considered equal among them or not. This procedure is applied to the Gutenberg-Richter law for earthquakes and for synthetic earthquakes (acoustic emission events) generated in the laboratory: labquakes. Different earthquake catalogs have been merged finding a Gutenberg-Richter law holding for more than eight orders of magnitude in seismic moment. The value of the exponent of the energy distribution of labquakes depends on the material used in the compression experiments. By means of the procedure proposed in this manuscript, we find that the Gutenberg-Richter law for earthquakes and charcoal labquakes can be characterized by the same power-law exponent, whereas Vycor labquakes exhibit a significantly different exponent.

Idioma originalAnglès
Número d’article062106
RevistaPhysical Review E
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 3 de des. 2019
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