Seismic source zone characterization for the seismic hazard assessment project PEGASOS by the Expert Group 2 (EG1b)


A comprehensive study of the seismic hazard related to the four NNP sites in NW Switzerland was performed within the project PEGASOS. To account for the epistemic uncertainties involved in the process of the characterization of seismic source zones in the frame of probabilistic seismic hazard assessments, four different expert teams have developed and defended their models in the frame of an intensive elicitation process.

Here, the results of one out of four expert groups are presented. The model of this team is based first of all on considerations regarding the large scale tectonics in the context of the Alpine collision, and neotectonic constraints for defining seismic source zones. This leads to a large scale subdivision based on the structural ‘architectural’ considerations with little input from the present seismicity. Each of the eight large zones was characterized by the style of present-day faulting, fault orientation, and hypocentral depth distribution. A further subdivision of the larger zones is performed based on information provided by the seismicity patterns. 58 small source zones have been defined in this way, each of them characterized by the available tectonic constrains, as well as the pros and cons of different existing geologic views connected to them. Of special concern in this respect were the discussion regarding thin skinned vs. thick skinned tectonics, the tectonic origin of the 1356 Basel earthquake, the role of the Permo-Carboniferous graben structures, and finally the seismogenic orientation of faults with respect to the recent crustal stress field. The uncertainties connected to the delimitations of the small source zones have been handled in form of their regrouping, formalized by the logic tree technique.

The maximum magnitudes were estimated as discretized probability distribution functions. After declustering the used ECOS earthquake catalogue and an analysis of data completeness as a function of time the parameters of the frequency-magnitude relations were derived within their uncertainties.

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Correspondence to Gottfried Grünthal.

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Manuscript received June 28, 2008; Revision accepted October 15, 2008

Editorial Handling: Stefan Bucher

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Burkhard, M., Grünthal, G. Seismic source zone characterization for the seismic hazard assessment project PEGASOS by the Expert Group 2 (EG1b). Swiss J. Geosci. 102, 149–188 (2009).

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  • seismic source zones
  • Switzerland
  • hazard model
  • seismotectonics