# Seismic Gap

Reference work entry

First Online:

**DOI:**https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_315

## Synonyms

Earthquake forecasting; Seismic potential

## Definition

*Seismic Gap*. A segment of an active plate boundary that, relative to rest of the boundary, has not recently ruptured and is considered to be more likely to produce an *Earthquake* in the future.

The seismic gap theory (for a summary of early work in this field see McCann et al.,
1979) states that a segment of a plate boundary that has not ruptured recently has the greatest chance of rupturing in the future (relative to other segments that have experienced large earthquakes). This is based on the recognition that tectonic plates move relative to one another at an approximately constant speed and the assumption that the slip of plate boundary faults occurs primarily during major (magnitude 7 or greater) earthquakes. There are clear applications of this method to the estimation of earthquake hazards and to “earthquake forecasting” (e.g., McCann et al.,
1979). However, there are questions about the applicability of this method...

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## Bibliography

- 2007 Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities, 2008. The Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, Version 2 (UCERF 2):
*U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007-1437 and California Geological Survey Special Report 203*, 104 pp. [http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1437/]. - Kagan, Y. Y., and Jackson, D. D., 1991. Seismic gap hypothesis: ten years after.
*Journal of Geophysical Research*,**96**, 21419–21431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Kagan, Y. Y., and Jackson, D. D., 1995. New seismic gap hypothesis: five years after.
*Journal of Geophysical Research*,**100**, 3943–3959.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Madariaga, R., Metois, M., Vigny, C., and Campos, J., 2010. Central Chile finally breaks.
*Science*,**328**, 181–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - McCann, W. R., Nishenko, S. P., Sykes, L. R., and Krause, J., 1979. Seismic gaps and plate tectonics: seismic potential for major boundaries.
*Pageoph*,**117**, 1082–1147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar - Ruegg, J. C., Rudloff, A., Vigny, C., Madariaga, R., de Chabalier, J. B., Campos, J., Kausel, E., Barrientos, S., and Dimitrov, D., 2009. Interseismic strain accumulation measured by GPS in the seismic gap between Constitución and Concepción in Chile.
*Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors*,**175**, 78–85, doi:10.1016/j/pepj.2008.02.015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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