Prospects for Larger or More Frequent Earthquakes in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Region

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Science  13 Jan 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5195, pp. 199-205
DOI: 10.1126/science.267.5195.199


Far too few moderate earthquakes have occurred within the Los Angeles, California, metropolitan region during the 200-year-long historic period to account for observed strain accumulation, indicating that the historic era represents either a lull between clusters of moderate earthquakes or part of a centuries-long interseismic period between much larger (moment magnitude, Mw, 7.2 to 7.6) events. Geologic slip rates and relations between moment magnitude, average coseismic slip, and rupture area show that either of these hypotheses is possible, but that the latter is the more plausible of the two. The average time between Mw 7.2 to 7.6 earthquakes from a combination of six fault systems within the metropolitan area was estimated to be about 140 years.