Journal of Seismology

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1295–1322 | Cite as

A first-order seismotectonic regionalization of Mexico for seismic hazard and risk estimation

  • F. Ramón Zúñiga
  • Gerardo Suárez
  • Ángel Figueroa-Soto
  • Avith Mendoza


The purpose of this work is to define a seismic regionalization of Mexico for seismic hazard and risk analyses. This seismic regionalization is based on seismic, geologic, and tectonic characteristics. To this end, a seismic catalog was compiled using the more reliable sources available. The catalog was made homogeneous in magnitude in order to avoid the differences in the way this parameter is reported by various agencies. Instead of using a linear regression to converts from m b and M d to M s or M w , using only events for which estimates of both magnitudes are available (i.e., paired data), we used the frequency-magnitude relations relying on the a and b values of the Gutenberg-Richter relation. The seismic regions are divided into three main categories: seismicity associated with the subduction process along the Pacific coast of Mexico, in-slab events within the down-going COC and RIV plates, and crustal seismicity associated to various geologic and tectonic regions. In total, 18 seismic regions were identified and delimited. For each, the a and b values of the Gutenberg-Richter relation were determined using a maximum likelihood estimation. The a and b parameters were repeatedly estimated as a function of time for each region, in order to confirm their reliability and stability. The recurrence times predicted by the resulting Gutenberg-Richter relations obtained are compared with the observed recurrence times of the larger events in each region of both historical and instrumental earthquakes.


Seismic hazard Seismic risk Seismic regionalization Seismicity Mexico Tectonics 



The authors acknowledge the Servicio Sismológico Nacional (SSN) for providing the data from the seismic catalog. One of us (GS) thanks grant number 082821 of the Mexican Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT). Partial support (F.R.Z.) by grant UNAM-PAPIIT 108115 is also gratefully acknowledged.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de GeocienciasUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoJuriquillaMexico
  2. 2.Instituto de GeofísicaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexico CityMexico
  3. 3.Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de HidalgoMoreliaMexico
  4. 4.Posgrado en Ciencias de la TierraUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexico CityMexico

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