Earthquake Risk Assessment

Max Wyss

Published online September 2017 | | DOI:

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  • Natural Disasters (Environmental Science)
  • Geology and the Lithosphere
  • Geophysics


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This article discusses the importance of assessing and estimating the risk of earthquakes. It begins with an overview of earthquake prediction and relevant terms, namely: earthquake hazard, maximum credible earthquake magnitude, exposure time, earthquake risk, and return time. It then considers data sources for estimating seismic hazard, including catalogs of historic earthquakes, measurements of crustal deformation, and world population data. It also examines ways of estimating seismic risk, such as the use of probabilistic estimates, deterministic estimates, and the concepts of characteristic earthquake, seismic gap, and maximum rupture length. A loss scenario for a possible future earthquake is presented, and the notion of imminent seismic risk is explained. Finally, the chapter addresses errors in seismic risk estimates and how to reduce seismic risk, ethical and moral aspects of seismic risk assessment, and the outlook concerning seismic risk assessment.

Keywords: earthquake; earthquake hazard; earthquake risk; seismic hazard; seismic risk; imminent seismic risk; seismic risk assessment; earthquake prediction; loss scenario; crustal deformation

Article.  14205 words. 

Subjects: Natural Disasters (Environmental Science) ; Geology and the Lithosphere ; Geophysics

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