The seaboard area from Rhode Island to Maryland has not experienced an earthquake larger than magnitude 5.1 since European settlement. The rate of occurrence of small earthquakes for the last 200 years suggests that the 500-year earthquake might be about magnitude 5.2. An earthquake comparable to the 1886 Charleston, S. C. earthquake (magnitude 6.7) has an average recurrence period calculated to exceed ten thousand years. The effect of variability in the seismic activity rate and possible incompleteness of the record of activity makes the accuracy of recurrence estimates for this region uncertain.

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