Abstract

Probabilistic seismic-hazard assessments of the central and eastern United States (CEUS) require estimates of the size of the largest possible earthquake (Mmax). In most of the CEUS, sparse historical seismicity does not provide a record of moderate and large earthquakes that is sufficient to constrain Mmax. One remedy for the insufficient catalog is to combine the catalog of moderate to large CEUS earthquakes with catalogs from other regions worldwide that are tectonically analogous to the CEUS (stable continental regions, or SCRs). After the North America SCR, the largest contribution of earthquakes to this global SCR catalog comes from a Southeast Asian SCR that extends from Indochina to southeasternmost Russia. Integration and interpretation of recently published geological and geophysical results show that most of these Southeast Asian earthquakes occurred in areas exposing abundant alkaline igneous rocks and extensional faults, both of Neogene age (last 23 million years). The implied Neogene extension precludes classification of the areas as SCR crust. The extension also reduces the number of moderate and large Southeast Asian historical earthquakes that are available to constrain CEUS Mmax by 86 percent, from 43 to six.

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