Abstract

Scalar moment rates estimated from a 146-year seismicity catalog agree, within uncertainties, with the deformation rate of the Basin and Range province determined by using space geodesy. Seismic-moment rates have been estimated from a new catalog of earthquakes complete for M ≥ 5. The catalog was compiled from 15 preexisting catalogs, supplemented by the review of 44 journal articles. Throughout the catalog compilation, care was taken to obtain the moment magnitude or a reasonable, and not inflated, equivalent. Seventy-six percent of the moment release occurred during 10 earthquakes of magnitude MW ≥ 6.79. The spatial distribution of earthquakes and their moment release matches the geodetic pattern of deformation. All three are concentrated in a ∼200-km-wide zone along the western boundary of the Great Basin, with this zone widening to the north. Several techniques, ultimately traceable to Kostrov and Brune, are used to translate the geodetic strain rates into rates of seismic-moment release. The agreement between geodetic and seismic- moment rate suggests that, within uncertainties, the rate of historic earthquakes within the Basin and Range province, taken as a whole, provides a reasonable estimate for the future rate of seismicity. These results support the hypothesis that even a few years of detailed geodetic monitoring can provide a good constraint on earthquake occurrence rate estimates for large-enough regions.

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