## Abstract

In probabilistic seismic-hazard assessment for stable continental regions (SCRs), the maximum magnitude M_{max} truncating the earthquake magnitude-frequency distribution is commonly based on Bayesian updating of a global prior distribution derived from the distribution of observed M_{max} in superdomains (groups of tectonically similar domains). We use randomly simulated earthquake catalogs to test if this observed superdomain M_{max} distribution could also be explained by a global uniform M_{max} value in SCRs, given our limited periods of observation. Using published average recurrence parameters per continent, catalog completeness thresholds for different regions within each continent, and assuming a Poisson temporal occurrence model, we simulate 10,000 random catalogs for each SCR domain, combine them into superdomain catalogs, and determine the largest sampled magnitude and the number of sampled earthquakes in each. Imposing an M_{max} of 7.9, the largest magnitude observed in SCRs to date, and catalog lengths similar to those presently available, we obtain superdomain M_{max} distributions similar to that observed. Hence, we cannot presently distinguish whether M_{max} in SCRs is spatially variable or uniform. As a result, using a single value of M_{max} in seismichazard analyses for all SCRs might make sense. Simulations with larger M_{max} and longer catalogs confirm that catalog length is the limiting factor in our knowledge of M_{max}.

Original language | English (US) |
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Pages (from-to) | 1214-1223 |

Number of pages | 10 |

Journal | Seismological Research Letters |

Volume | 87 |

Issue number | 5 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - 2016 |

## ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Geophysics

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