Abstract

Northeast India and its adjoining areas are characterized by very high seismic activity. According to the Indian seismic code, the region falls under seismic zone V, which represents the highest seismic-hazard level in the country. This region has experienced a number of great earthquakes, such as the Assam (1950) and Shillong (1897) earthquakes, that caused huge devastation in the entire northeast and adjacent areas by flooding, landslides, liquefaction, and damage to roads and buildings.

In this study, an attempt has been made to find the probability of occurrence of a major earthquake (Mw>6) in this region using an updated earthquake catalog collected from different sources. Thereafter, dividing the catalog into six different seismic regions based on different tectonic features and seismogenic factors, the probability of occurrences was estimated using three models: the lognormal, Weibull, and gamma distributions. We calculated the logarithmic probability of the likelihood function (ln L) for all six regions and the entire northeast for all three stochastic models. A higher value of ln L suggests a better model, and a lower value shows a worse model. The results show different model suits for different seismic zones, but the majority follows lognormal, which is better for forecasting magnitude size.

According to the results, Weibull shows the highest conditional probabilities among the three models for small as well as large elapsed time T and time intervals t, whereas the lognormal model shows the lowest and the gamma model shows intermediate probabilities. Only for elapsed time T=0, the lognormal model shows the highest conditional probabilities among the three models at a smaller time interval (t=3–15  yrs). The opposite result is observed at larger time intervals (t=15–25  yrs), which show the highest probabilities for the Weibull model. However, based on this study, the Indo-Burma Range and Eastern Himalaya show a high probability of occurrence in the 5 yr period 2012–2017 with >90% probability.

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