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Seismic hazard, risk, and design for South America

February 1, 2018

We calculate seismic hazard, risk, and design criteria across South America using the latest data, models, and methods to support public officials, scientists, and engineers in earthquake risk mitigation efforts. Updated continental scale seismic hazard models are based on a new seismicity catalog, seismicity rate models, evaluation of earthquake sizes, fault geometry and rate parameters, and ground‐motion models. Resulting probabilistic seismic hazard maps show peak ground acceleration, modified Mercalli intensity, and spectral accelerations at 0.2 and 1 s periods for 2%, 10%, and 50% probabilities of exceedance in 50 yrs. Ground shaking soil amplification at each site is calculated by considering uniform soil that is applied in modern building codes or by applying site‐specific factors based on VS30">VS30 shear‐wave velocities determined through a simple topographic proxy technique. We use these hazard models in conjunction with the Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) model to calculate economic and casualty risk. Risk is computed by incorporating the new hazard values amplified by soil, PAGER fragility/vulnerability equations, and LandScan 2012 estimates of population exposure. We also calculate building design values using the guidelines established in the building code provisions. Resulting hazard and associated risk is high along the northern and western coasts of South America, reaching damaging levels of ground shaking in Chile, western Argentina, western Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, and in localized areas distributed across the rest of the continent where historical earthquakes have occurred. Constructing buildings and other structures to account for strong shaking in these regions of high hazard and risk should mitigate losses and reduce casualties from effects of future earthquake strong ground shaking. National models should be developed by scientists and engineers in each country using the best available science.

Publication Year 2018
Title Seismic hazard, risk, and design for South America
DOI 10.1785/0120170002
Authors Mark D. Petersen, Stephen Harmsen, Kishor S. Jaiswal, Kenneth S. Rukstales, Nicolas Luco, Kathleen Haller, Charles Mueller, Allison Shumway
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Index ID 70197893
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geologic Hazards Science Center