Probabilistic seismic hazard assessment for Central Asia

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Shahid Ullah
Dino Bindi
Marco Pilz
Laurentiu Danciu
Graeme Weatherill
Elisa Zuccolo
Anatoly Ischuk
Natalya N. Mikhailova
Kanat Abdrakhmatov
Stefano Parolai


Central Asia is one of the seismically most active regions in the world. Its complex seismicity due to the collision of the Eurasian and Indian plates has resulted in some of the world’s largest intra-plate events over history. The region is dominated by reverse faulting over strike slip and normal faulting events. The GSHAP project (1999), aiming at a hazard assessment on a global scale, indicated that the region of Central Asia is characterized by peak ground accelerations for 10% probability of exceedance in 50 years as high as 9 m/s2. In this study, carried out within the framework of the EMCA project (Earthquake Model Central Asia), the area source model and different kernel approaches are used for a probabilistic seismic hazard assessment (PSHA) for Central Asia. The seismic hazard is assessed considering shallow (depth < 50 km) seismicity only and employs an updated (with respect to previous projects) earthquake catalog for the region. The seismic hazard is calculated in terms of macroseismic intensity (MSK-64), intended to be used for the seismic risk maps of the region. The hazard maps, shown in terms of 10% probability of exceedance in 50 years, are derived by using the OpenQuake software [Pagani et al. 2014], which is an open source software tool developed by the GEM (Global Earthquake Model) foundation. The maximum hazard observed in the region reaches an intensity of around 8 in southern Tien Shan for 475 years mean return period. The maximum hazard estimated for some of the cities in the region, Bishkek, Dushanbe, Tashkent and Almaty, is between 7 and 8 (7-8), 8.0, 7.0 and 8.0 macroseismic Intensity, respectively, for 475 years mean return period, using different approaches. The results of different methods for assessing the level of seismic hazard are compared and their underlying methodologies are discussed.

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How to Cite
Ullah, S., Bindi, D., Pilz, M., Danciu, L., Weatherill, G., Zuccolo, E., Ischuk, A., Mikhailova, N. N., Abdrakhmatov, K. and Parolai, S. (2015) “Probabilistic seismic hazard assessment for Central Asia”, Annals of Geophysics, 58(1). doi: 10.4401/ag-6687.

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