Probabilistic seismic hazard assessment of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, considering empirically estimated site effects

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Shahid Ullah
Dino Bindi
Marco Pilz
Stefano Parolai


It is well known that variability in the surface geology potentially leads to the modification of earthquake-induced ground motion over short distances. Although this effect is of major importance when seismic hazard is assessed at the urban level, it is very often not appropriately accounted for. In this paper, we present a first attempt at taking into account the influence of the shallow geological structure on the seismic hazard assessment for Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, using a proxy (Vs30) that has been estimated from in situ seismic noise array analyses, and considering response spectral ratios calculated by analyzing a series of earthquake recordings of a temporary seismic network. To highlight the spatial variability of the observed ground motion, the obtained results are compared with those estimated assuming a homogeneous Vs30 value over the whole urban area. The seismic hazard is evaluated in terms of peak ground acceleration (PGA) and spectral acceleration (SA) at different periods (frequencies). The presented results consider the values obtained for a 10% probability of exceedance in 50 years. The largest SA estimated considering a rock site classification of the area (0.43 g) is observed for a period of 0.1 s (10 Hz), while the maximum PGA reaches 0.21 g. When site effects are included through the Vs30 proxy in the seismic hazard calculation, the largest SA, 0.67 g, is obtained for a period of 0.3 s (about 3.3 Hz). In terms of PGA, in this case the largest estimated value reaches 0.31 g in the northern part of the town. When the variability of ground motion is accounted for through response spectrum ratios, the largest SA reaches a value as high as 1.39 g at a period of 0.5 s. In general, considering site effects in the seismic hazard assessment of Bishkek leads to an increase of seismic hazard in the north of the city, which is thus identified as the most hazardous part within the study area and which is more far away from the faults.

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Ullah S, Bindi D, Pilz M, Parolai S. Probabilistic seismic hazard assessment of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, considering empirically estimated site effects. Ann. Geophys. [Internet]. 2015Apr.24 [cited 2023Dec.9];58(1). Available from:

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