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

Zhenming Wang and James C. Cobb
A critique of probabilistic versus deterministic seismic hazard analysis with special reference to the New Madrid seismic zone (in Recent advances in North American paleoseismology and neotectonics east of the Rockies, Randel Tom Cox (editor), Martitia P. Tuttle (editor), Oliver S. Boyd (editor) and Jacques Locat (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (2012) 493: 259-275

Abstract

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.


ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Coden: GSAPAZ
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 493
Title: A critique of probabilistic versus deterministic seismic hazard analysis with special reference to the New Madrid seismic zone
Title: Recent advances in North American paleoseismology and neotectonics east of the Rockies
Author(s): Wang, ZhenmingCobb, James C.
Author(s): Cox, Randel Tomeditor
Author(s): Tuttle, Martitia P.editor
Author(s): Boyd, Oliver S.editor
Author(s): Locat, Jacqueseditor
Affiliation: Kentucky Geological Survey, Lexington, KY, United States
Affiliation: University of Memphis, Department of Earth Sciences, Memphis, TN, United States
Pages: 259-275
Published: 2012
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 978-0-8137-2493-5
Meeting name: Geological Society of America, 2010 annual meeting
Meeting location: Denver, CO, USA, United States
Meeting date: 20101031Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2010
References: 92
Accession Number: 2013-034010
Categories: SeismologyEngineering geology
Document Type: Serial Conference document
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch maps
Secondary Affiliation: M. Tuttle and Associates, USA, United StatesU. S. Geological Survey, USA, United StatesDepartement de Geologic et de Genie Geologique, CAN, Canada
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: 201321
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