Text Classification of the Precursory Accelerating Seismicity Corpus: Inference on some Theoretical Trends in Earthquake Predictability Research from 1988 to 2018

by   Arnaud Mignan, et al.

Text analytics based on supervised machine learning classifiers has shown great promise in a multitude of domains, but has yet to be applied to Seismology. We test various standard models (Naive Bayes, k-Nearest Neighbors, Support Vector Machines, and Random Forests) on a seismological corpus of 100 articles related to the topic of precursory accelerating seismicity, spanning from 1988 to 2010. This corpus was labelled in Mignan (2011) with the precursor whether explained by critical processes (i.e., cascade triggering) or by other processes (such as signature of main fault loading). We investigate rather the classification process can be automatized to help analyze larger corpora in order to better understand trends in earthquake predictability research. We find that the Naive Bayes model performs best, in agreement with the machine learning literature for the case of small datasets, with cross-validation accuracies of 86 classification ('non-critical process' < 'agnostic' < 'critical process assumed' < 'critical process demonstrated'), we obtain up to 78 Prediction on a dozen of articles published since 2011 shows however a weak generalization with a F1-score of 60 classifier, which can be explained by a change of authorship and use of different terminologies. Yet, the model shows F1-scores greater than 80 the two multiclass extremes ('non-critical process' versus 'critical process demonstrated') while it falls to random classifier results (around 25 papers labelled 'agnostic' or 'critical process assumed'. Those results are encouraging in view of the small size of the corpus and of the high degree of abstraction of the labelling. Domain knowledge engineering remains essential but can be made transparent by an investigation of Naive Bayes keyword posterior probabilities.


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