Bayesian estimation of the spatially varying completeness magnitude of earthquake catalogs

A. Mignan, M. J. Werner, S. Wiemer, C. C. Chen, Y. M. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Assessing the completeness magnitude Mc of earthquake catalogs is an essential prerequisite for any seismicity analysis. We employ a simple model to compute Mc in space based on the proximity to seismic stations in a network.We showthat a relationship of the form Mcpred(d) = adb + c, with d the distance to the kth nearest seismic station, fits the observations well, k depending on the minimum number of stations being required to trigger an event declaration in a catalog. We then propose a new Mc mapping approach, the Bayesian magnitude of completeness (BMC)method, based on a two-step procedure: (1) a spatial resolution optimization to minimize spatial heterogeneities and uncertainties in Mc estimates and (2) a Bayesian approach that merges prior information about Mc based on the proximity to seismic stations with locally observed values weighted by their respective uncertainties. Contrary to the current Mc mapping procedures, the radius that defines which earthquakes to include in the local magnitude distribution is chosen according to an objective criterion, and there are no gaps in the spatial estimation of Mc. The method solely requires the coordinates of seismic stations. Here, we investigate the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau (CWB) seismic network and earthquake catalog over the period 1994-2010.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1371-1385
Number of pages15
JournalBulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2011


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