ABSTRACT

We present the first parametric catalog of historical earthquakes in Mexico from 1469 to 1912 composed of 323 historical earthquakes. The historical earthquakes were assigned to specific seismotectonic provinces, and attenuation relations of seismic intensity versus distance were calculated using instrumental earthquakes. The intensity data were inverted using a linear regression for the best‐fitting magnitude and source location. From the 323 events identified in the historical record, magnitude and source location were determined for 40 earthquakes from 1568 to 1912. The historical subduction earthquakes are distributed uniformly along the coast. There is, however, a conspicuous absence of subduction earthquakes where the great 1985 Michoacán earthquakes took place. The data also show a large number of earthquakes Mw>7 in the presumed Guerrero gap in the past 320 yr. The source parameters of in‐slab earthquakes were obtained for 10 earthquakes that took place in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The analysis of completeness of the historical and instrumental International Seismological Centre‐Global Earthquake Model catalogs of subduction earthquakes Mw>7.0 show similar values of the slope of the Gutenberg–Richter relation between 1.62 and 1.95. The large b‐values appear to reflect the apparently anomalous large number of earthquakes in the magnitude range Mw 7.4–7.7 and an absence of events Mw7. This magnitude distribution suggests that the seismicity in the Mexican subduction zone is dominated by characteristic earthquakes in the magnitude range Mw 7.4–7.7, with larger earthquakes Mw>8 showing longer recurrence times. The catalog of historical subduction earthquakes appears to be complete for Mw>7.5. The catalog of crustal earthquakes in the Trans‐Mexican volcanic belt is complete since 1568 for events Mw>6.4. Completeness of the catalog of in‐slab earthquakes was not estimated due to the short record for this type of event.

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