Statistical Analysis of Earthquake Catalogs for Seismic Hazard

  • D. Veneziano
  • J. Van Dyck
Part of the Lecture Notes in Engineering book series (LNENG, volume 32)


In the use of historical earthquake catalogs for seismic hazard, the main objective is to estimate the rate of earthquakes of various sizes in a region around the site of interest. This is a complicated problem, in part because of deficiencies of the catalog such as missing data, nonuniformity of the scale in which earthquake sizes are measured and errors in reported epicentral locations and magnitudes, in part because earthquake activity is non-Poissonian and varies in space, when not also in time. Standard methods of analysis are simple but often inadequate: they ignore errors in the data, use regressions among size measures as if they were functional relationships, ignore the incomplete part of the catalog, and assume homogeneous Poisson occurrences inside given “seismogenic provinces”. The scope of the present paper is to challenge these assumptions and approximations. In particular, it is proposed that seismicity be represented as the Superposition of a nonhomogeneous Poisson process of main or parent events and a process of secondary and smaller events clustered around the parent earthquakes. Various models of catalog incompleteness are also proposed. Methods aie developed for the identification of secondary events and for the simultaneous estimation of spatially varying recurrence rates of main events and of catalog incompleteness, using any desired portion of the historical record. As a special case, the model includes the assumption of homogeneous Poisson sources. More in general, seismogenic provinces are considered as geographical regions inside which the variation of seismicity possesses some regularity. Other problems addressed in this study are the estimation of earthquake size on a common scale and the automatic identification of quasi-homogeneous earthquake sources. The proposed methods are exemplified through application to Northeastern Italy.


Seismic Hazard Earthquake Source Historical Earthquake Seismic Hazard Analysis Epicentral Location 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin, Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Veneziano
  • J. Van Dyck
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Civil EngineeringM.I.TCambridgeUSA

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