Estimating the magnitude of completeness for earthquake catalogs

Mignan, Arnaud and Woessner, Jochen (2012) Estimating the magnitude of completeness for earthquake catalogs. Community Online Resource for Statistical Seismicity Analysis. pp. 1-45. DOI:

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Assessing the magnitude of completeness Mc of instrumental earthquake catalogs is an essential and compulsory step for any seismicity analysis. Mc is defined as the lowest magnitude at which all the earthquakes in a space-time volume are detected. A correct estimate of Mc is crucial since a value too high leads to under-sampling, by discarding usable data, while a value too low leads to erroneous seismicity parameter values and thus to a biased analysis, by using incomplete data. In this article, we describe peer-reviewed techniques to estimate and map Mc. We provide examples with real and synthetic earthquake catalogs to illustrate features of the various methods and give the pros and cons of each method. With this article at hand, the reader will get an overview of approaches to assess Mc, understand why Mc evaluation is essential and an a non-trivial task, and hopefully be able to select the most appropriate Mc method to include in his seismicity studies.

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Item Type: Article
Application references: Completeness Magnitude Estimation
Subjects: Methodology > Method and procesing > Collective properties of seismicity > Source size distribution
Project: IS-EPOS project