Because most large-magnitude earthquakes along reverse faults have such irregular and complicated rupture patterns, reverse-fault segments defined on the basis of geometry alone may not be very useful for estimating sizes of future seismic sources. Most modern large ruptures of historical earthquakes generated by intracontinental reverse faults have involved geometrically complex rupture patterns. Ruptures across surficial discontinuities and complexities such as stepovers and cross-faults are common. Specifically, segment boundaries defined on the basis of discontinuities in surficial fault traces, pronounced changes in the geomorphology along strike, or the intersection of active faults commonly have not proven to be major impediments to rupture. Assuming that the seismic rupture will initiate and terminate at adjacent major geometric irregularities will commonly lead to underestimation of magnitudes of future large earthquakes.

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