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Estimation of earthquake size for seismic hazards

Craig M. dePolo and D. Burton Slemmons
Estimation of earthquake size for seismic hazards (in Neotectonics in earthquake evaluation, Ellis L. Krinitzsky (editor) and D. Burton Slemmons (editor))
Reviews in Engineering Geology (1990) 8: 1-28


This chapter presents a structured organization of the various types of seismic-hazard estimates, approaches, scaling parameters, techniques, and data used in the estimation of potential earthquake sizes. This organization is designed to facilitate the use of multiple techniques, so that a greater amount of data can be incorporated into the size estimate. An earthquake size analysis begins with the determination of the type of seismic hazard to be estimated, such as characteristic, maximum, maximum credible, or floating earthquakes. The characteristic earthquake is defined as one that is characteristic of a particular fault or area. The maximum earthquake generally is defined as the largest to occur during a given time period, whereas the maximum credible earthquake is the largest that is reasonably physically possible, irrespective of the frequency of occurrence. Floating earthquakes occur along unidentified sources, e.g., along smaller faults adjacent to the major fault zones. The various types of estimates can be made at different levels of conservatism and probabilities of occurrence. Five approaches to earthquake size analysis are: historical earthquake, paleoseismic, source characterization, regional, and relative comparison approaches. For each of these, various parameters are used to scale earthquake size, including fault rupture length, fault rupture area, fault displacement, seismic moment calculations, and strain rates. Techniques include the specific correlations and equations used in the analysis. Data include the information collected and its associated uncertainties. The combined use of several approaches, scaling parameters, techniques, and data may reduce the overall uncertainty (or increase the confidence) in the analysis. Logic trees offer a useful format for presenting multiple estimates and uncertainties in an explicit manner. It is important to understand the type of earthquake size estimate made (e.g., local magnitude, surface-wave magnitude, or seismic moment), and to be internally consistent about the type used throughout the analysis, most importantly in the techniques and data. Current research in seismic-hazard analysis includes studies in intraplate regions (e.g., central and eastern United States) and on fold-related, subduction-zone, and volcanic earthquake sources.

ISSN: 0080-2018
EISSN: 2169-799X
Coden: GAEGA4
Serial Title: Reviews in Engineering Geology
Serial Volume: 8
Title: Estimation of earthquake size for seismic hazards
Title: Neotectonics in earthquake evaluation
Author(s): dePolo, Craig M.Slemmons, D. Burton
Author(s): Krinitzsky, Ellis L.editor
Author(s): Slemmons, D. Burtoneditor
Affiliation: Univ. Nev.-Reno, Nev. Bur. Mines and Geol., Reno, NV, United States
Affiliation: U. S. Army Corps Eng., Waterw. Exp. Stn., Geotech. Lab., Vicksburg, MS, United States
Pages: 1-28
Published: 1990
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 0-8137-4108-4
References: 164
Accession Number: 1992-014918
Categories: Engineering geology
Document Type: Serial Conference document
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 3 tables, sect., sketch maps
Secondary Affiliation: Univ. Nev.-Reno, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 1992
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