Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

A critique of probabilistic versus deterministic seismic hazard analysis with special reference to the New Madrid seismic zone

By
Zhenming Wang
Zhenming Wang
Kentucky Geological Survey, 228 Mining and Mineral Resources Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40506, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
James C. Cobb
James C. Cobb
Kentucky Geological Survey, 228 Mining and Mineral Resources Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40506, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
January 01, 2013

Scientific understanding of earthquakes in the New Madrid seismic zone has advanced greatly in recent years, but these advances have resulted in neither better assessment of seismic hazard and risk nor better mitigation policy. The main reasons for this are (1) misunderstanding about the National Seismic Hazard Maps and (2) confusion about seismic hazard and risk. Seismic hazard and seismic risk are two fundamentally different concepts, even though they have often been used interchangeably. Both are used differently in policy decision making, but seismic risk is the deciding factor, not seismic hazard.

Even though the input parameters are scientifically sound, we contend that the National Seismic Hazard Maps produced for the New Madrid region are flawed because they were produced from probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA). PSHA is scientifically flawed: As a complex computer model, it could not pass a simple sensitivity test with a single input earthquake, and the annual probability of exceedance (i.e., exceedance probability in one year and a dimensionless quantity) has been erroneously interpreted and used as the annual frequency or rate of exceedance (i.e., the number of event exceedances per year and a dimensional quantity). Thus, the seismic hazard and resulting seismic risk estimates from PSHA can be viewed as artifacts, and the mitigation policies developed, the NEHRP (National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program) provisions and resulting building codes in particular, are problematic.

Scenario seismic hazard analysis is a more appropriate approach for seismic hazard assessment, seismic risk assessment, as well as policy development in the New Madrid region.

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables

Contents

GSA Special Papers

Recent Advances in North American Paleoseismology and Neotectonics East of the Rockies

Randel Tom Cox
Randel Tom Cox
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Memphis, Johnson Hall, Memphis, Tennessee 38152, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Martitia P. Tuttle
Martitia P. Tuttle
M. Tuttle & Associates, 128 Tibbetts Lane, Georgetown, Maine 04548, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Oliver S. Boyd
Oliver S. Boyd
U.S. Geological Survey, 3876 Central Avenue, Suite 2, Mail Stop 966, Memphis, Tennessee, 38152-3050, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Jacques Locat
Jacques Locat
Département de géologie et de génie géologique, 1065 avenue de la Médecine, Québec G1V 0A6, Canada
Search for other works by this author on:
Geological Society of America
Volume
493
ISBN print:
9780813724935
Publication date:
January 01, 2013

References

Related

Citing Books via

A comprehensive resource of eBooks for researchers in the Earth Sciences

Related Book Content
Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal