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Circular 210: Earthquake catalogs for New Mexico and bordering areas: 1869 - 1998

A probabilistic seismic hazard map for New Mexico based on earthquake data from the catalogs in this publication. Seismic hazard maps commonly show the expected geographic distribution of maximum ground motion from earthquake activity. They are constructed for different percentages of probability over a specified time period. The map on the cover shows expected maximum or peak horizontal ground accelerations (PGA) that have a 10% probability of being equaled or exceeded in a 50-yr period. The colors and contours on the hazard map are scaled to ground acceleration as a fraction of the earth's gravity g. The highest predicted PGA, ~0.18 g, is located ~40 km (~25 mi) north of Socorro. A PGA of ~0.2 g is considered the acceleration level at which considerable damage can begin to occur to weakly built or designed structures-masonry structures of adobe and adobe and stone, for example. With the exception of the Socorro area, predicted PGAs on the hazard map are much less than 0.2 g. However, this map is based on instrumental earthquake data collected from 1962 through 1998, a very short time period to characterize the long-term seismicity of a region like New Mexico. Therefore this map has a fairly high degree of uncertainty.
For technical details on how the hazard map was constructed, see: Lin, K. W., 1999, Probabilistic seismic hazard in New Mexico and bordering areas: Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, New Mexico, 194 pp.
Other less detailed descriptions of the technical details of the hazard map can be obtained from New Mexico Tech geophysics open-file reports available at

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