Challenges in assessing seismic hazard in intraplate Europe
Published:January 01, 2017
Seth Stein, Mian Liu, Thierry Camelbeeck, Miguel Merino, Angela Landgraf, Esther Hintersberger, Simon Kübler, 2017. "Challenges in assessing seismic hazard in intraplate Europe", Seismicity, Fault Rupture and Earthquake Hazards in Slowly Deforming Regions, A. Landgraf, S. Kübler, E. Hintersberger, S. Stein
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Intraplate seismicity is often characterized by episodic, clustered and migrating earthquakes and extended after-shock sequences. Can these observations – primarily from North America, China and Australia – usefully be applied to seismic hazard assessment for intraplate Europe? Existing assessments are based on instrumental and historical seismicity of the past c. 1000 years, as well as some data for active faults. This time span probably fails to capture typical large-event recurrence intervals of the order of tens of thousands of years. Palaeoseismology helps to lengthen the observation window, but preferentially produces data in regions suspected to be seismically active. Thus the expected maximum magnitudes of future earthquakes are fairly uncertain, possibly underestimated, and earthquakes are likely to occur in unexpected locations. These issues particularly arise in considering the hazards posed by low-probability events to both heavily populated areas and critical facilities. For example, are the variations in seismicity (and thus assumed seismic hazard) along the Rhine Graben a result of short sampling or are they real? In addition to a better assessment of hazards with new data and models, it is important to recognize and communicate uncertainties in hazard estimates. The more users know about how much confidence to place in hazard maps, the more effectively the maps can be used.
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Seismicity, Fault Rupture and Earthquake Hazards in Slowly Deforming Regions
Palaeoseismic records and seismological data from continental interiors increasingly show that these areas of slow strain accumulation are more subject to seismic and associated natural hazards than previously thought. Moreover, some of our instincts developed for assessing hazards at plate boundaries might not apply here. Hence assessing hazards and drawing implications for the future is challenging, and how well it can be done heavily depends on the ability to assess the spatiotemporal distribution of past large earthquakes. This book explores some key issues in understanding hazards in slowly deforming areas. Examples include classic intraplate regions, such as Central and Northern Europe, Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, Australia, and North and South America, and regions of widely distributed strain, such as the Tien Shan Mountains in Central Asia. The papers in this volume are grouped into two sections. The first section deals with instrumental and historical earthquake data and associated hazard assessments. The second section covers methods from structural geology, palaeoseismology and tectonic geomorphology, and incorporates field evidence.