In order to monitor temporal and spatial crustal activities associated with earthquakes, ground- and satellite-based monitoring systems have been installed in China since the 1990s. In recent years, the correlation between monitoring strain anomalies and local major earthquakes has been verified. In this study, we further evaluate the possibility of strain anomalies containing earthquake precursors by using Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) prediction. First, strain network anomalies were extracted in the borehole strain data recorded in Western China during 2010–2017. Then, we proposed a new prediction strategy characterized by the number of network anomalies in an anomaly window,
, and the length of alarm window,
. We assumed that clusters of network anomalies indicate a probability increase of an impending earthquake, and consequently, the alarm window would be the duration during which a possible earthquake would occur. The Area Under the ROC Curve (AUC) between true predicted rate,
, and false alarm rate,
, is measured to evaluate the efficiency of the prediction strategies. We found that the optimal strategy of short-term forecasts was established by setting the number of anomalies greater than 7 within 14 days and the alarm window at one day. The results further show the prediction strategy performs significantly better when there are frequent enhanced network anomalies prior to the larger earthquakes surrounding the strain network region. The ROC detection indicates that strain data possibly contain the precursory information associated with major earthquakes and highlights the potential for short-term earthquake forecasting.
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