We performed a review of a representative data set on coseismic surface deformation, derived from both interferometric synthetic aperture radar imaging and from a traditional field survey of surface faulting. This analysis indicates a minimum threshold value of Mw 5.4–5.5 for earthquake-induced ground deformation and faulting, with an inherently lower limit of detection that makes it hard to recognize surface deformation caused by Mw < 4.5–5.0 events. Significant exceptions are represented by shallow (i.e., less than circa 5 km) events that occur in volcano-tectonic settings, where surface deformation and dislocation are also clearly detectable for Mw circa 4.0. Furthermore, a statistically significant regression between the areal extent of surface deformation and maximum slip at surface is proposed. This correlation is discussed in relation to fault displacement hazard analysis for nuclear power plants. In particular, the deformation area is used to find a potential solution for the second and third criterion for defining a capable fault.

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