The seismic strength (resistance to sudden failure) of the seismically active regions of the crust and upper mantle is estimated and is found to be maximum at depths of 50 to 125 km. The pattern of strength versus depth can be explained in terms of lithospheric plate sinking beneath an ocean trench. The lack of earthquakes at depths larger than 700 km is probably due to decreasing shear stress rather than vanishing seismic strength.

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Journal Pure and Applied Geophysics PAGEOPH
Ranalli, G. (1973). The seismic strength of the earth. Pure and Applied Geophysics PAGEOPH, 104(1), 507–512. doi:10.1007/BF00875894