Abstract

The south Indian state of Tamil Nadu in the peninsular shield is a zone of low to moderate seismic activity with a sparse historical record of significant earthquakes. The current intensity-based zoning adopted by the Indian seismic code stipulates an effective peak ground acceleration (PGA) of either 0.10 or 0.16g for different parts of the state, for the maximum considered earthquake (MCE), and the service life of a structure. In the current study, probabilistic seismic hazard contour maps for Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Pondicherry, in terms of the ground-motion parameters, PGA and spectral accelerations, at 0.1, 0.5, and 1.0 sec for 2%, 5%, and 10% probabilities of exceedance in a 50 yr period, have been produced. Hazard computations have been performed over a grid of sites covering the territory at an interval of 0.2°. A comprehensive earthquake catalog has been compiled for the region extending between 2 and 20.7° N latitude and 68 and 88° E longitude and spanning ∼950 yrs. The hazard maps are produced by suitably accounting for epistemic uncertainty in the hazard computations within a logic-tree framework incorporating parameters such as different probabilistic hazard analysis methods (classical Cornell–McGuire and zone-free approaches), catalog completeness estimation methods, maximum cutoff magnitude, and ground-motion predictive equations for shallow crustal intraplate environments. The hazard maps are compared to the zoning prescribed by the seismic code. The current estimations show that the potential seismic hazard in considerable parts of the state is underestimated by the broad zoning adopted by the Indian Standards.

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