A comprehensive, consistently interpreted new catalog of felt intensities for India (Martin and Szeliga, 2010, this issue) includes intensities for 570 earthquakes; instrumental magnitudes and locations are available for 100 of these events. We use the intensity values for 29 of the instrumentally recorded events to develop new intensity versus attenuation relations for the Indian subcontinent and the Himalayan region. We then use these relations to determine the locations and magnitudes of 234 historical events, using the method of Bakun and Wentworth (1997). For the remaining 336 events, intensity distributions are too sparse to determine magnitude or location. We evaluate magnitude and location accuracy of newly located events by comparing the instrumental- with the intensity-derived location for 29 calibration events, for which more than 15 intensity observations are available. With few exceptions, most intensity-derived locations lie within a fault length of the instrumentally determined location. For events in which the azimuthal distribution of intensities is limited, we conclude that the formal error bounds from the regression of Bakun and Wentworth (1997) do not reflect the true uncertainties. We also find that the regression underestimates the uncertainties of the location and magnitude of the 1819 Allah Bund earthquake, for which a location has been inferred from mapped surface deformation. Comparing our inferred attenuation relations to those developed for other regions, we find that attenuation for Himalayan events is comparable to intensity attenuation in California (Bakun and Wentworth, 1997), while intensity attenuation for cratonic events is higher than intensity attenuation reported for central/eastern North America (Bakun et al., 2003). Further, we present evidence that intensities of intraplate earthquakes have a nonlinear dependence on magnitude such that attenuation relations based largely on small-to-moderate earthquakes may significantly overestimate the magnitudes of historical earthquakes.
Additional publication details
Intensity, magnitude, location and attenuation in India for felt earthquakes since 1762