Impact from Magnitude-Rupture Length Uncertainty on Seismic Hazard and Risk 

Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Edwin V Apel, Risk Management Solutions, Inc., Newark, CA, United States
In probabilistic seismic hazard and risk assessments seismic sources are typically divided into two groups: fault sources (to model known faults) and background sources (to model unknown faults). In areas like the Central and Eastern United States and Hawaii the hazard and risk is driven primarily by background sources. Background sources can be modeled as areas, points or pseudo-faults. When background sources are modeled as pseudo-faults, magnitude-length or magnitude-area scaling relationships are required to construct these pseudo-faults. However the uncertainty associated with these relationships is often ignored or discarded in hazard and risk models, particularly when faults sources are the dominant contributor. Conversely, in areas modeled only with background sources these uncertainties are much more significant. In this study we test the impact of using various relationships and the resulting epistemic uncertainties on the seismic hazard and risk in the Central and Eastern United States and Hawaii. It is common to use only one magnitude length relationship when calculating hazard. However, Stirling et al. (2013) showed that for a given suite of magnitude-rupture length relationships the variability can be quite large. The 2014 US National Seismic Hazard Maps (Petersen et al., 2014) used one magnitude-rupture length relationship (Somerville, et al., 2001) in the Central and Eastern United States, and did not consider variability in the seismogenic rupture plane width. Here we use a suite of metrics to compare the USGS approach with these variable uncertainty models to assess 1) the impact on hazard and risk and 2) the epistemic uncertainty associated with choice of relationship. In areas where the seismic hazard is dominated by larger crustal faults (e.g. New Madrid) the choice of magnitude-rupture length relationship has little impact on the hazard or risk. However away from these regions, the choice of relationship is more significant and may approach the size of the uncertainty associated with the ground motion prediction equation suite.