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Based on the ETAS (epidemic-type aftershock sequence) model, which is used for describing the features of short-term clustering of earthquake occurrence, this paper presents some theories and techniques related to evaluating the probability distribution of the maximum magnitude in a given space-time window, where the Gutenberg-Richter law for earthquake magnitude distribution cannot be directly applied. It is seen that the distribution of the maximum magnitude in a given space-time volume is determined in the longterm by the background seismicity rate and the magnitude distribution of the largest events in each earthquake cluster. The techniques introduced were applied to the seismicity in the Japan region in the period from 1926 to 2009. It was found that the regions most likely to have big earthquakes are along the Tohoku (northeastern Japan) Arc and the Kuril Arc, both with much higher probabilities than the offshore Nankai and Tokai regions.
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