Abstract

I present a long-term earthquake rate model for the central and eastern United States from adaptive smoothed seismicity. By employing pseudoprospective likelihood testing (L-test), I examined the effects of fixed and adaptive smoothing methods and the effects of catalog duration and composition on the ability of the models to forecast the spatial distribution of recent earthquakes. To stabilize the adaptive smoothing method for regions of low seismicity, I introduced minor modifications to the way that the adaptive smoothing distances are calculated. Across all smoothed seismicity models, the use of adaptive smoothing and the use of earthquakes from the recent part of the catalog optimizes the likelihood for tests with M≥2.7 and M≥4.0 earthquake catalogs. The smoothed seismicity models optimized by likelihood testing with M≥2.7 catalogs also produce the highest likelihood values for M≥4.0 likelihood testing, thus substantiating the hypothesis that the locations of moderate-size earthquakes can be forecast by the locations of smaller earthquakes. The likelihood test does not, however, maximize the fraction of earthquakes that are better forecast than a seismicity rate model with uniform rates in all cells. In this regard, fixed smoothing models perform better than adaptive smoothing models. The preferred model of this study is the adaptive smoothed seismicity model, based on its ability to maximize the joint likelihood of predicting the locations of recent small-to-moderate-size earthquakes across eastern North America. The preferred rate model delineates 12 regions where the annual rate of M≥5 earthquakes exceeds 2×10−3. Although these seismic regions have been previously recognized, the preferred forecasts are more spatially concentrated than the rates from fixed smoothed seismicity models, with rate increases of up to a factor of 10 near clusters of high seismic activity.

Online Material: Figures of minimum-magnitude determination, b-value estimation, and maps of earthquake rate and forecasts, and tables of optimized neighbor numbers and smoothing distances.

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