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A series of large-magnitude earthquakes above 6.9 occurred in the northern Tien-Shan between 1885 and 1911. The Chilik earthquake of 11 July 1889, has been listed with a magnitude of 8.3, based on sparse macroseismic intensities, constrained by reported damage. Despite the existence of several juvenile fault scarps in the epicentral region, that are possibly associated with the 1889 earthquake, no through-going surface rupture having the dimensions expected for a magnitude 8.3 earthquake has been located – a puzzling dilemma. Could the magnitude have been overestimated? This would have major implications not only for the understanding of the earthquake...

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