Abstract

Gumbel’s method of extremes is used to estimate average recurrence intervals for four areas: eastern North America south of 50° N latitude, eastern United States, sixteen seaboard states and nine industrialized states (20, 44, 98 and 250 years, respectively, for magnitude 5.8).

The next large earthquake in eastern North America is likely to occur in a place that has not experienced even a moderate earthquake because past large earthquakes have tended to occur at places with no history of significant earthquakes. The rate of occurrence of very large earthquakes in the eastern United States has been lower for the past 48 years than previously, leading to the expectation that a magnitude 5.8 or larger earthquake may occur somewhere soon.

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