Unified approach to catastrophic events: from the normal state to geological or biological shock in terms of spectral fractal and nonlinear analysis
An important question in geophysics is whether earthquakes (EQs) can be anticipated prior to their occurrence. Pre-seismic electromagnetic (EM) emissions provide a promising window through which the dynamics of EQ preparation can be investigated. However, the existence of precursory features in pre-seismic EM emissions is still debatable: in principle, it is difficult to prove associations between events separated in time, such as EQs and their EM precursors. The scope of this paper is the investigation of the pre-seismic EM activity in terms of complexity. A basic reason for our interest in complexity is the striking similarity in behavior close to irreversible phase transitions among systems that are otherwise quite different in nature. Interestingly, theoretical studies (Hopfield, 1994; Herz and Hopfield 1995; Rundle et al., 1995; Corral et al., 1997) suggest that the EQ dynamics at the final stage and neural seizure dynamics should have many similar features and can be analyzed within similar mathematical frameworks. Motivated by this hypothesis, we evaluate the capability of linear and non-linear techniques to extract common features from brain electrical activities and pre-seismic EM emissions predictive of epileptic seizures and EQs respectively. The results suggest that a unified theory may exist for the ways in which firing neurons and opening cracks organize themselves to produce a large crisis, while the preparation of an epileptic shock or a large EQ can be studied in terms of ''Intermittent Criticality''.