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Seismic hazard map of the western hemisphere

Annals of Geophysics

By:
and
DOI: 10.4401/ag-3779

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Abstract

Vulnerability to natural disasters increases with urbanization and development of associated support systems (reservoirs, power plants, etc.). Catastrophic earthquakes account for 60% of worldwide casualties associated with natural disasters. Economic damage from earthquakes is increasing, even in technologically advanced countries with some level of seismic zonation, as shown by the 1989 Loma Prieta, CA ($6 billion), 1994 Northridge, CA ($ 25 billion), and 1995 Kobe, Japan (> $ 100 billion) earthquakes. The growth of megacities in seismically active regions around the world often includes the construction of seismically unsafe buildings and infrastructures, due to an insufficient knowledge of existing seismic hazard. Minimization of the loss of life, property damage, and social and economic disruption due to earthquakes depends on reliable estimates of seismic hazard. National, state, and local governments, decision makers, engineers, planners, emergency response organizations, builders, universities, and the general public require seismic hazard estimates for land use planning, improved building design and construction (including adoption of building construction codes), emergency response preparedness plans, economic forecasts, housing and employment decisions, and many more types of risk mitigation. The seismic hazard map of the Americas is the concatenation of various national and regional maps, involving a suite of approaches. The combined maps and documentation provide a useful global seismic hazard framework and serve as a resource for any national or regional agency for further detailed studies applicable to their needs. This seismic hazard map depicts Peak Ground Acceleration (PGA) with a 10% chance of exceedance in 50 years for the western hemisphere. PGA, a short-period ground motion parameter that is proportional to force, is the most commonly mapped ground motion parameter because current building codes that include seismic provisions specify the horizontal force a building should be able to withstand during an earthquake. This seismic hazard map of the Americas depicts the likely level of short-period ground motion from earthquakes in a fifty-year window. Short-period ground motions effect short-period structures (e.g., one-to-two story buildings). The largest seismic hazard values in the western hemisphere generally occur in areas that have been, or are likely to be, the sites of the largest plate boundary earthquakes. Although the largest earthquakes ever recorded are the 1960 Chile and 1964 Alaska subduction zone earthquakes, the largest seismic hazard (PGA) value in the Americas is in Southern California (U.S.), along the San Andreas fault.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Seismic hazard map of the western hemisphere
Series title:
Annals of Geophysics
DOI:
10.4401/ag-3779
Volume
42
Issue:
6
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Annals of Geophysics
First page:
1199
Last page:
1214
Number of Pages:
16