How complete is the ISC-GEM Global Earthquake Catalog?

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
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Abstract

The International Seismological Centre, in collaboration with the Global Earthquake Model effort, has released a new global earthquake catalog, covering the time period from 1900 through the end of 2009. In order to use this catalog for global earthquake studies, I determined the magnitude of completeness (Mc) as a function of time by dividing the earthquakes shallower than 60 km into 7 time periods based on major changes in catalog processing and data availability and applying 4 objective methods to determine Mc, with uncertainties determined by non-parametric bootstrapping. Deeper events were divided into 2 time periods. Due to differences between the 4 methods, the final Mc was determined subjectively by examining the features that each method focused on in both the cumulative and binned magnitude frequency distributions. The time periods and Mc values for shallow events are: 1900-1917, Mc=7.7; 1918-1939, Mc=7.0; 1940-1954, Mc=6.8; 1955-1963, Mc=6.5; 1964-1975, Mc=6.0; 1976-2003, Mc=5.8; and 2004-2009, Mc=5.7. Using these Mc values for the longest time periods they are valid for (e.g. 1918-2009, 1940-2009,…) the shallow data fits a Gutenberg-Richter distribution with b=1.05 and a=8.3, within 1 standard deviation, with no declustering. The exception is for time periods that include 1900-1917 in which there are only 33 events with MMc and for those few data b=2.15±0.46. That result calls for further investigations for this time period, ideally having a larger number of earthquakes. For deep events, the results are Mc=7.1 for 1900-1963, although the early data are problematic; and Mc=5.7 for 1964-2009. For that later time period, b=0.99 and a=7.3.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title How complete is the ISC-GEM Global Earthquake Catalog?
Series title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
DOI 10.1785/0120130227
Volume 104
Issue 4
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Seismological Society of America
Publisher location Stanford, CA
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 1829
Last page 1837
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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