Abstract

Newman et al. (1999) estimate the time interval between the 1811–1812 earthquake sequence near New Madrid, Missouri and a future similar sequence to be at least 2,500 years, an interval significantly longer than other recently published estimates. To calculate the recurrence time, they assume that slip on a vertical half-plane at depth contributes to the current interseismic motion of GPS benchmarks. Compared to other plausible fault models, the half-plane model gives nearly the maximum rate of ground motion for the same interseismic slip rate. Alternative models with smaller interseismic fault slip area can satisfy the present GPS data by having higher slip rate and thus can have earthquake recurrence times much less than 2,500 years.

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