Earthquake-like patterns of acoustic emission in crumpled plastic sheets

Earthquake-like patterns of acoustic emission in crumpled plastic sheets

R. S. Mendes, L. C. Malacarne, R. P. B. Santos, H. V. Ribeiro and S. Picoli Jr., EPL, 92, 29001 (2010). PDF | DOI

We report remarkable similarities in the output signal of two distinct out-of-equilibrium physical systems — earthquakes and the intermittent acoustic noise emitted by crumpled plastic sheets, i.e. Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP) films. We show that both signals share several statistical properties including the distribution of energy, distribution of energy increments for distinct time scales, distribution of return intervals and correlations in the magnitude and sign of energy increments. This analogy is consistent with the concept of universality in complex systems and could provide some insight on the mechanisms behind the complex behavior of earthquakes.