Forecasting the timing of earthquakes is a long-standing challenge. Moreover, it is still debated how to formulate this problem in a useful manner, or to compare the predictive power of different models. Here, we develop a versatile neural encoder of earthquake catalogs, and apply it to the fundamental problem of earthquake rate prediction, in the spatio-temporal point process framework. The epidemic type aftershock sequence model (ETAS) effectively learns a small number of parameters to constrain the assumed functional forms for the space and time correlations of earthquake sequences (e.g., Omori-Utsu law). Here we introduce learned spatial and temporal embeddings for point process earthquake forecasting models that capture complex correlation structures. We demonstrate the generality of this neural representation as compared with ETAS model using train-test data splits and how it enables the incorporation additional geophysical information. In rate prediction tasks, the generalized model shows > 4 % improvement in information gain per earthquake and the simultaneous learning of anisotropic spatial structures analogous to fault traces. The trained network can be also used to perform short-term prediction tasks, showing similar improvement while providing a 1000-fold reduction in run-time.
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