Gumbel's extreme value theory is applied to the estimation of probabilities of occurrence and return periods for large earthquakes in the north circum-Pacific area, using earthquake data from 1930 through 1971. The probability model of Epstein and Lomnitz is discussed with reference to Gumbel's extreme value theory. Estimated probabilities and expected extremes within individual tectonic blocks are calculated and compared. The area of the Aleutian Arc between 155°W and 167°W is found to have about an 80 per cent probability of an Ms ≧ 8 earthquake by 1980.

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