R. M. W. Musson, 2020. "Chapter 2 Seismic hazard", Geological Hazards in the UK: Their Occurrence, Monitoring and Mitigation – Engineering Group Working Party Report, D. P. Giles, J. S. Griffiths
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It is often thought that earthquakes do not occur in the UK; however, the seismicity of the UK is usually classified as low-to-moderate. On average, a magnitude 3.2 Mw moment magnitude or larger earthquake occurs once per year, and 4.2 Mw or larger every 10 years. The latter is capable of causing non-structural damage to property. The damage caused by British earthquakes is generally not life-threatening, and no-one has been killed in a British earthquake (at the time of writing, May 2013) since 1940. Damage is caused by shaking, not by ground rupture, so the discovery of a fault surface trace at a construction site is not something to be worried about as far as seismic hazard is concerned. For most ordinary construction in the UK, earthquake hazard can be safely discounted; this is not the case with high-consequence facilities such as dams, bridges and nuclear power plants.
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Geological Hazards in the UK: Their Occurrence, Monitoring and Mitigation – Engineering Group Working Party Report
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The UK is perhaps unique globally in that it presents the full spectrum of geological time, stratigraphy and associated lithologies within its boundaries. With this wide range of geological assemblages comes a wide range of geological hazards, whether they be geophysical (earthquakes, effects of volcanic eruptions, tsunami, landslides), geotechnical (collapsible, compressible, liquefiable, shearing, swelling and shrinking soils), geochemical (dissolution, radon and methane gas hazards) or georesource related (coal, chalk and other mineral extraction). An awareness of these hazards and the risks that they pose is a key requirement of the engineering geologist.
The Geological Society considered that a Working Party Report would help to put the study and assessment of geohazards into the wider social context, helping the engineering geologist to better communicate the issues concerning geohazards in the UK to the client and the public. This volume sets out to define and explain these geohazards, to detail their detection, monitoring and management and to provide a basis for further research and understanding.