Shaking the foundations of earthquake hazard prediction

Jul 24, 2012
Shaking the foundations of earthquake hazard prediction
Credit: Thinkstock

European research into earthquakes of low seismicity is being incorporated into models that are more appropriate for Europe. To date, hazard assessment has been based on data from strong earthquakes.

One of the key steps in hazard assessment in the face of earthquakes is to use a ground motion prediction equation (GMPE). This forms the basis for an estimation of the level of shaking according to seismological data such as earthquake magnitude and distance of a site from the source.

Up to now, data has been used from strong ground motion records which are inappropriate for use in regions of low to moderate seismicity, as in western central Europe. Moreover, data is normally from models in other continents like Asia and the Americas. However, a unified hazard assessment specifically for the Euro- is currently under development by the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) project 'Seismic hazard in Europe' (SHARE).

High quality data is now available from regions where small earthquakes prevail. Aiming to make use of this information, the EU-funded Seismolos project aimed to understand the non-linear behavior of some parameters. For example, scaling laws used that predict earthquake stress may not be correct at lower levels. The data can then be applied in models of hazard assessment such as in the SHARE initiative.

Project scientists used data from a French metropolitan area and the French West Indies to provide input for future stochastic ground motion models. Another objective was to produce a homogeneous moment catalogue as well as regional attenuation functions.

In addition, strong ground motion data from Japan and the United States was analysed to be in a better position to characterize rock site effects, when seismic waves are modified by local geological conditions. More specifically, this take on the data allows for high-frequency attenuation or weakening.

The research will help to understand the source of large uncertainties in ground motion modeling. The Seismolos project successfully collected sets of parameters that can be used to using the stochastic simulation method. Critical information on engineering requirements, for example, can be extrapolated from resulting models.

Explore further: Arson to blame for Argentine forest fires

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New seismic hazard assessment for Central America

Mar 29, 2012

A new study evaluates the seismic hazards for the entire Central America, including specific assessments for six capital cities, with the greatest hazard expected for Guatemala City and San Salvador, followed by Managua and ...

New hazard estimates could downplay quake dangers

Apr 16, 2008

The dangers posed by a major earthquake in the New Madrid and Charleston, South Carolina zones in the Midwestern and Southern parts of the United States may be noticeably lower than current estimates if seismologists adjust ...

Recommended for you

Arson to blame for Argentine forest fires

16 minutes ago

Fires that have ravaged some 20,000 hectares of forest in Argentina's remote Patagonia region were deliberately set, according to Argentine officials on Monday.

Water in smog may reveal pollution sources

1 hour ago

The chemical signature of water vapor emitted by combustion sources such as vehicles and furnaces has been found in the smoggy winter inversions that often choke Salt Lake City. The discovery may give researchers ...

Research cruise delves into Perth Canyon's depths

7 hours ago

A world-first expedition backed by Google billionaire Eric Schmidt is bidding to unlock the secrets of the Perth Canyon, the vast undersea gorge carved by the prehistoric Swan River.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.