Earthquakes in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Region: A Possible Fractal Distribution of Rupture Size

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Science  13 Jan 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5195, pp. 211-213
DOI: 10.1126/science.267.5195.211


Although there is debate on the maximum size of earthquake that is possible on any of several known fault systems in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan region, it is reasonable to assume that the distribution of earthquakes will follow a fractal distribution of rupture areas. For this assumption and an overall slip-rate for the region of approximately 1 centimeter per year, roughly one magnitude 7.4 to 7.5 event is expected to occur every 245 to 325 years. A model in which the earthquake distribution is fractal predicts that, additionally, there should be approximately six events in the range of magnitude 6.6 in this same span of time, a higher rate than has occurred in the historic record.