France is a country of low-to-moderate seismic hazard that has, in the past, suffered strong earthquakes that have caused damage and casualties (SisFrance historical catalog, http://www.sisfrance.net). More recently, it has experienced moderate earthquakes that have caused significant economic loss. One major earthquake occurred at the beginning of the 20th century (1909) and seriously affected the rural area of Aix-en-Provence (southeast France). In moderate-to-low seismic-hazard countries, even earthquakes that are not regarded as major can cause severe damage. This was the case with the earthquakes in Ossau-Arudy (Pyrenees area, 1980, ML = 5.1) and Annecy (northern Alps, 1996, M...

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