The Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities reported a discrepancy between the historical rates of large earthquakes in southern California and rates predicted from interpretation of geological, geodetic, and historical seismicity data. It was suggested that the discrepancy may be due to the assumption within their analysis that the magnitude of the largest earthquake on a fault is limited by the mapped fault length. Our analysis of the available data does not support the presence of a historical deficit in the rate of seismicity, nor does it require that earthquakes that rupture beyond the lengths of mapped active faults in southern California, or that rupture numerous subparallel faults, are needed to explain the historical distribution of seismicity.

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