Prediction of Strong Ground Motion and Hazard Uncertainties
Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to provide a detailed description of recent methods and scientific basis for characterizing earthquake sources within a certain region with distinct tectonic environments. The focus will be on those characteristics that are most significant to the ground-shaking hazard and on how we can incorporate our current knowledge into hazard analyses for engineering design purposes. I treat two particular geographical areas where I think current hazard analysis methods are in need of significant improvement, and suggest some approaches that have proven to be effective in past applications elsewhere. A combined hazard procedure is used to estimate seismicity in northern Central America, where there appear to be four tectonic environments for modeling the seismogenic sources and in Iran, where the large earthquakes usually occur on known faults. A preferred seismic hazard model for northern Central America and the western Caribbean plate based on earthquake catalogs, geodetic measurements, and geological information is presented. I used the widely practiced method of relating seismicity data to geological data to assess the various seismic hazard parameters and test parameter sensitivities. The sensitivity and overall uncertainty in peak ground acceleration (PGA) estimates are calculated for northwestern Iran by using a specific randomized blocks design. A Monte Carlo approach is utilized to evaluate the ground motion hazard and its uncertainties in northern Central America. A set of new seismic hazard maps, exhibiting probabilistic values of peak ground acceleration (PGA) with 50%, 10%, and 5% probabilities of exceedance (PE) in 50 years, is presented for the area of relevance. Disaggregation of seismic hazard is carried out for cities of San Salvador and Guatemala by using a spatial distribution of epicenters around these sites to select design ground motion for seismic risk decisions. In conclusion, consideration of the effect of parameters such as seismic moment, fault rupture, rupture directivity and stress drop are strongly recommended in estimating the near field ground motions. The rupture process of the 2002 Changureh earthquake (Mw = 6.5), Iran, was analyzed by using the empirical Green’s function (EGF) method. This method simulates strong ground motions for future large earthquakes at particular sites where no empirical data are available.
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