abstract

Although geological and geomorphic evidence strongly suggests that the Wasatch fault zone has generated large-magnitude earthquakes in late Quaternary time, the fault zone has not been associated with earthquakes greater than magnitude 512 in the past 133 yr. Therefore, realistic estimates of the likelihood of future damaging earthquakes must be based on more than historical seismicity data. The data base can be expanded by collecting site-specific geological information on earthquake recurrence and fault slip rates and by using this information in a model of the earthquake generation process. Uncertainties in both the physical basis for the model and in the geological parameters dictate a probabilistic approach. A semi-Markov model provides real-time probabilities of occurrence of at least one moderate to large (magnitude 612 or larger) earthquake at either of two sites for given elapsed times. Probabilities derived for the entire Wasatch fault zone are based on earthquake recurrence data on individual fault segments and are especially sensitive to elapsed times on individual segments.

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