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Earthquake hazard isn’t a physical thing we

measure. It's something mapmakers define and


then use computer programs to predict. To decide
how much to believe a hazard map, we need to
know what the mapmakers assumed, and what the
effects of those choices were.

- Definition of hazard (political, not scientific)

- Where and when will earthquakes occur?

- If they occur, then

- how large?

- How large will ground motion be?


Assume that an earthquake of a certain size will strike in a
certain time and cause shaking within a certain area.

Strongly shaken areas MMI > VII for M 6

Include earthquakes of different magnitudes, assume some


areas more likely to have earthquakes, and have stronger
shaking close to the epicenter. Hazard at a given location is
described by the maximum shaking due to earthquakes that is
predicted to happen in a given period of time.
Two methods of predicting hazard
DHSA - deterministic seismic hazard assessment - chose
the biggest earthquake to worry about, decide where & how
big it will be, and how much shaking it will cause.
PSHA - probabilistic seismic hazard assessment - estimate
combined hazard from many different earthquakes. Use the
probabilities and uncertainties of factors like the
location and times of earthquakes and how much shaking
will result from an earthquake of a given magnitude.
DSHA makes society spend lots of money preparing for an event
that is very unlikely to happen during a structure's life.
PSHA defines hazard via a mathematical event rather than real
one, so results depend in complex ways on the probabilities and
uncertainties assumed. ”Simplicity is deeply veiled by user-
hostile notation, antonymous jargon, and proprietary
software"(Hanks and Cornell, 1994.
As probabilistic models cover longer time windows they become
about the same as deterministic ones, but emphasize extreme
cases even more
“Estimates of some
specific PSHA
studies are very
surprising,
particularly at small
exceedance rates.
High standard
deviations in ground
motion prediction
equations are a
leading candidate to
explain the surprising
hazard predictions.”
Anderson, 2010
SHORT
RECORD OF
SEISMICITY &
HAZARD
ESTIMATE
Africa-Eurasia
convergence NUVEL-1
rate varies Argus et al., 1989
smoothly
Predicted hazard from historic
seismicity is highly variable
Likely overestimated near
recent earthquakes,
underestimated elsewhere
More uniform hazard seems
more plausible - or opposite if
time dependence considered
GSHAP
Map changes after major
earthquakes
SHORT
RECORD OF
SEISMICITY &
HAZARD
ESTIMATE
Africa-Eurasia
convergence NUVEL-1
rate varies Argus et al., 1989
smoothly
Predicted hazard from historic
seismicity is highly variable
Likely overestimated near
recent earthquakes,
underestimated elsewhere 2003

More uniform hazard seems


more plausible - or opposite if 2004
time dependence considered
GSHAP
Map changes after major
earthquakes
Long record needed to see real hazard

Swafford & Stein, 2007


“Our glacial
loading model
suggests that
earthquakes
may occur 1985
anywhere
along the rifted
margin which
has been
glaciated.”
Stein et al., 2005
1979
HIGH MODELED NMSZ HAZARD RESULTS FROM
HIGH-END ASSUMPTIONS
Systematic

- Future earthquakes will be like Doesn’t consider


past ones in location & timing space-time variability

- Redefined from maximum


acceleration predicted at Arbitrary choice on
10% probability in 50 yr policy grounds; no
to 2% in 50 yr (1/ 500 yr to 1/2500 yr) cost/benefit analysis

Measurement
- Large magnitude of 1811-12 Uncertainty in
and thus future large interpreting intensity
earthquakes data
- High ground motion in large Lack of data; chose
events high model
Algermissen et al., 1982

Hazard redefined

from maximum
acceleration
predicted at
10% probability
in 50 yr
(1/ 500 yr )

to much higher
2% in 50 yr
(1/2500 yr)

Frankel et al., 1996


New Madrid hazard
higher than
California
results largely from
redefining hazard as 500 yr
largest shaking
expected every
2500 yr: 2500 yr Searer & Freeman, 2002
Not so for 500 yr

500 yr 2500 yr
PREDICTED
HAZARD
DEPENDS ON
ASSUMED
MAXIMUM
MAGNITUDE OF
LARGEST
EVENTS AND
ASSUMED
GROUND
MOTION MODEL

Frankel/Toro:
St Louis 1.8
Memphis 1.3 Newman et
al., 2001
EFFECTS OF
ASSUMED
GROUND
MOTION MODEL
Effect as large as one
magnitude unit

Frankel model,
developed for maps,
predicts significantly
greater shaking for M >7

Frankel M 7 similar to
other models’ M 8

Frankel & Toro models


averaged in 1996 maps;
Atkinson & Boore not
used
Newman et al., 2001
ASSUMED HAZARD
DEPENDS ON
EARTHQUAKE
PROBABILITY
ASSUMPTION
Constant since last
event: time
independent
Small after last
event, then grows:
time dependent
Time dependent
lower until ~2/3 mean
recurrence
Results depend on
model & parameters
Hebden & Stein, 2008
RELATIVE PREDICTED HAZARD DEPENDS
ON POSITION IN EARTHQUAKE CYCLE

Time dependent
lower until ~2/3
mean
recurrence

Charleston &
New Madrid
early in their
cycles so time
dependent
predicts lower
hazard

Hebden & Stein, 2008


2% in 50 yr (1/2500 yr) NEW MADRID

Memphis: TD at present is 64% of TI


Time dependent
Mw 7.7 (NMSZ)
model for eastern
Mw 7.3 (Charleston)
US predicts lower
New Madrid &
Charleston hazard

Effect larger than


lowering Mmax and
thus ground
motion model

Including GPS
makes effect much
greater
Hebden & Stein, 2008
Assume from GPS data no M7 on the way
Some hazard remains from earthquakes up to M ~ 6.7
Hazard ~ 1/10 that of USGS prediction

USGS, 2500 yr, GPS, 500 yr, assumes


assumes M 7 coming no M 7 coming
Hard to assess possible hazard of M7 on other faults
No evidence, but can’t exclude until we understand mechanics
CHARLESTON

2% in 50 yr (1/2500 yr)
Hebden & Stein, 2008