Challenges in assessing seismic hazard in intraplate Europe

  • Intraplate seismicity is often characterized by episodic, clustered and migrating earthquakes and extended after-shock sequences. Can these observations - primarily from North America, China and Australia - usefully be applied to seismic hazard assessment for intraplate Europe? Existing assessments are based on instrumental and historical seismicity of the past c. 1000 years, as well as some data for active faults. This time span probably fails to capture typical large-event recurrence intervals of the order of tens of thousands of years. Palaeoseismology helps to lengthen the observation window, but preferentially produces data in regions suspected to be seismically active. Thus the expected maximum magnitudes of future earthquakes are fairly uncertain, possibly underestimated, and earthquakes are likely to occur in unexpected locations. These issues particularly arise in considering the hazards posed by low-probability events to both heavily populated areas and critical facilities. For example, are the variations in seismicity (andIntraplate seismicity is often characterized by episodic, clustered and migrating earthquakes and extended after-shock sequences. Can these observations - primarily from North America, China and Australia - usefully be applied to seismic hazard assessment for intraplate Europe? Existing assessments are based on instrumental and historical seismicity of the past c. 1000 years, as well as some data for active faults. This time span probably fails to capture typical large-event recurrence intervals of the order of tens of thousands of years. Palaeoseismology helps to lengthen the observation window, but preferentially produces data in regions suspected to be seismically active. Thus the expected maximum magnitudes of future earthquakes are fairly uncertain, possibly underestimated, and earthquakes are likely to occur in unexpected locations. These issues particularly arise in considering the hazards posed by low-probability events to both heavily populated areas and critical facilities. For example, are the variations in seismicity (and thus assumed seismic hazard) along the Rhine Graben a result of short sampling or are they real? In addition to a better assessment of hazards with new data and models, it is important to recognize and communicate uncertainties in hazard estimates. The more users know about how much confidence to place in hazard maps, the more effectively the maps can be used.show moreshow less

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Author details:Seth Stein, Mian Liu, Thierry Camelbeeck, Miguel Merino, Angela LandgrafORCiDGND, Esther Hintersberger, Simon KüblerORCiD
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1144/SP432.7
ISBN:978-1-86239-745-3
ISBN:978-1-86239-964-8
ISSN:0305-8719
Title of parent work (English):Seismicity, fault rupture and earthquake hazards in slowly deforming regions
Publisher:The Geological Society
Place of publishing:London
Editor(s):Angelika Landgraf, Simon Kübler, Esther Hintersberger, Seth Stein
Publication type:Article
Language:English
Date of first publication:2017/11/04
Publication year:2017
Release date:2022/11/24
Volume:432
Article number:15944735
Number of pages:16
First page:13
Last Page:28
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Umweltwissenschaften und Geographie
DDC classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Peer review:Referiert
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