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Calculation of the rate of M≥6.5 earthquakes for California and adjacent portions of Nevada and Mexico

May 4, 2008

One of the key issues in the development of an earthquake recurrence model for California and adjacent portions of Nevada and Mexico is the comparison of the predicted rates of earthquakes with the observed rates. Therefore, it is important to make an accurate determination of the observed rate of M>6.5 earthquakes in California and the adjacent region. We have developed a procedure to calculate observed earthquake rates from an earthquake catalog, accounting for magnitude uncertainty and magnitude rounding. We present a Bayesian method that corrects for the effect of the magnitude uncertainty in calculating the observed rates. Our recommended determination of the observed rate of M>6.5 in this region is 0.246 ± 0.085 (for two sigma) per year, although this rate is likely to be underestimated because of catalog incompleteness and this uncertainty estimate does not include all sources of uncertainty.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2008
Title Calculation of the rate of M≥6.5 earthquakes for California and adjacent portions of Nevada and Mexico
DOI 10.3133/ofr20081112
Authors Arthur Frankel, Charles Mueller
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2008-1112
Index ID ofr20081112
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization U.S. Geological Survey