Increases in life-safety risks to building occupants from induced earthquakes in the central United States

Earthquake Spectra
By: , and 

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Abstract

Earthquake occurrence rates in some parts of the central United States have been elevated for a number of years; this increase has been widely attributed to deep wastewater injection associated with oil and gas activities. This induced seismicity has caused damage to buildings and infrastructure and substantial public concern. In March 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) published its first earthquake ground motion hazard model that accounts for the elevated seismicity, producing a one-year forecast encompassing both induced and natural earthquakes. To assess the potential impacts of the elevated seismicity on buildings and the public, this paper quantifies forecasted risks of a) building collapse and b) falling of nonstructural building components, by combining the 2016 USGS hazard model with fragility curves for generic modern code-compliant buildings. The assessment shows significant increases in both types of risk compared to that due to non-induced earthquakes alone; the magnitudes of the increases vary from a few times to more than a 100 times, depending on location, building period (which is correlated to building height), alternatives for the hazard model, and the type of risk of interest. For exploratory purposes only, we also estimate revised values of the risk-targeted ground motion that are currently used for designing buildings.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Increases in life-safety risks to building occupants from induced earthquakes in the central United States
Series title Earthquake Spectra
DOI 10.1193/041618EQS095M
Volume 35
Issue 2
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher SAGE
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 18 p.
First page 471
Last page 488
Country United States
State Texas, Oklahoma
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