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Magnitude and catalogue completeness study



Magnitude and catalogue completeness study



Proceedings of Technical Groups - Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand 24(1G): 156-162



A global catalogue of earthquakes has been established by extracting information from the catalogue of the International Seismological Centre (ISC). Other magnitude reports, particularly the moment magnitude M (sub W) as calculated from the Harvard CMT solutions, have been added. An extensive study and comparison of magnitudes has been undertaken, with the following results: There is a systematic difference between M (sub W) and the surface-wave magnitude M (sub S) , which varies slightly with tectonic setting. Using M (sub W) as a reference, a 'best' magnitude can be defined: choose M (sub W) if available and otherwise the largest surface-wave or body-wave magnitude from ISC or the US National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC). The global magnitude-frequency distribution of the best magnitude has been very stable over the last 32 years with about 120 events larger than magnitude 6 every year. A correction can be calculated to match the ISC body-wave magnitude, which systematically underestimates the earthquake size, with the best magnitude. The Harvard catalogue seems to miss some events of magnitude 6.1 or larger. The loss of data is still being investigated. The b-value of the Gutenberg-Richter law has been found to be close to one except for midocean ridges or zones of complex tectonic setting such as New Zealand. Furthermore, a maximum likelihood method has been developed to combine two or more magnitudes to find the cut-off magnitude and the b-value.

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Accession: 019361326

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