One thousand earthquakes distributed according to Gutenberg and Richter's formula, log N = 6 − M, were assumed to occur during a 50-yr period. Various fractions were assumed to be overlooked, and randomly distributed errors were added to their magnitudes. These data were used to calculate the expected recurrence rates of large earthquakes using methods developed by Gumbel and by Gutenberg and Richter. Although the method of Gutenberg and Richter leads to a more accurate estimation of recurrence rates with ideal data, when the data are incomplete and reported magnitudes contain errors, Gumbel's method sometimes leads to a more accurate estimate.

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