Gottfried Grünthal (1)
and the GSHAP Region 3 Working Group (2)
(1) GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Germany
Camelbeeck, Thierry, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium
de Crook, Theo, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, The Netherlands
Gariel, Jean-Claude, IPSN/CEA Centres d‘Etudes, Fontenay-aux Roses, France
Gregersen, Søren, Kort- og Matrikelstyrelsen, Geodesidivisionen, København, Denmark
Guterch, Barbara, Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warszawa, Poland
Halldorsson, Pal, The Icelandic Meteorological Office, Reykjavik, Iceland
Labák, Peter, Geophysical Institute, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia
Lindholm, Conrad, NORSAR, Kjeller, Norway
Lenhardt, Wolfgang, Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Wien, Austria
Mäntyniemi, Päivi, Institute of Seismology,University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Mayer-Rosa, Dieter, Schweizerischer Erdbebendienst, ETH, Zürich, Switzerland
Musson, Roger M.W., British Geological Survey, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Verbeiren, Roland, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium
Wahlström, Rutger, Seismological Department,Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
Zabukovec, Bla_, Geophysical Survey of Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Zíros, Tibor, Geodetical and Geophysical Research Institute,
A basic element of GSHAP is the regional organization of this global
project. Ten GSHAP Regions were etablished. The GSHAP Region 3, with the
Regional Centre at the GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, covers central, north
and northwest Europe (Fig. 1). It is defined as the area north of 46°
N and west of 32° E (Grünthal et al.,
1995a). What complicated the work is the fact that 29 different countries,
or parts of them, belong to the study area. The sometimes conflicting interests
of the responsibilities of these countries with their specifics had to
be considered. Moreover, there exists a large number of national seismicity
data files of quite different style, quality and availability, which often
show considerable overlap with neighbouring territories.
Several previous probabilistic seismic hazard assessments have been
made in the study area of GSHAP Region 3, mostly on a national level (cf.
selected contributions in McGuire, 1993). One of the first European approaches
was made for Switzerland by Sägesser and Mayer-Rosa (1978). Other
published national seismic hazard maps include, in selection, Germany (Ahorner
and Rosenhauer, 1986, 1993, Grünthal, 1989, 1991, Grünthal and
Bosse, 1996), The Netherlands (de Crook, 1993, 1996), France (Bottard and
Ferrieux, 1992, Bottard and Gariel, 1995, Dominique et. al., 1998), Austria
(Lenhardt, 1995) and the Czech Republic (Schenk et al., 1997a). Almost
all of these studies, with applications in the civil engineering practice,
were carried out for the intensity as shaking parameter.
Although GSHAP is aiming at producing regionally coordinated, harmonized
seismic hazard maps to overcome border problems which were obvious in previous
approaches, this project does not intend to replace national and local
studies. Instead, the results from several such studies have been included
in the now published GSHAP map. The contribution of GSHAP Region 3 so far
has been to increase of the awereness of seismic hazard, to provide homogeneous
techniques to promote future more detailed studies and to avoid possible
resulting border problems.
The GSHAP activities in Europe coincide with those devoted to the preparation
of seismic zoning for the National Application Documents (NAD) of the Eurocode
8. Although the Global Seismic Hazard Program was not coordinated with
the Eurocode 8 activities, the now existing regional GSHAP seismic hazard
maps support the process of harmonizing the engineering seismological basis
of different NAD´s.
To simplify the coordination of the activities in the GSHAP Region 3, four overlapping sub-study areas were established during the first workshop at the Potsdam Centre in July 1993:
(1) The D-A-CH study area, covering Germany (D), Austria (A) and Switzerland (CH). This served as a test area to derive suitable procedures for the different steps of data preprocessing, which should be uniformly applicable to the whole GSHAP Region 3.
(3) Northwestern Europe, i.e., the area west of the D-A-CH countries.
(4) Eastern central Europe, including the Baltic Republics and the area
east of the D-A-CH countries.
The progress of activities of the GSHAP Region 3 Centre is documented
in reports given at the ESC General Assembly in Athens 1994 (Grünthal
et al., 1995a), IUGG meeting in Boulder, 1995 (Grünthal et al., 1995b),
ESC General Assembly in Reykjavik, 1996 (Grünthal et al., 1996), IASPEI
meeting in Thessaloniki, 1997 (Grünthal, 1997) and ESC General Assembly
in Tel Aviv, 1998 (Grünthal and Giardini, 1998). Peak ground acceleration
hazard maps for the whole GSHAP Region 3 were presented for the first time
at the 1997 meeting and the harmonized results for Europe, the Middle East
and continental Africa at the 1998 meeting.
At a late stage of the project it has been agreed within the GSHAP Region
3 Working Group to present, in the final seismic hazard map, the results
obtained by different sub-groups (cf. the respective reports of this volume),
e.g., for Fennoscandia by the Nordic group (Bungum and Lindholm, 1997,
Lindholm et al., 1997) and for Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic
by Schenk et al. (1997b). For Iceland it has been agreed to show an updated
version of the national seismic hazard map (BSTR, FRV og Rb, 1995).
In the easterly parts of the GSHAP Region 3, the seismic hazard data
for western Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belorussia, Ukraine and
Moldavia were adopted from the GSHAP Centre 7, covering northern and central
Asia (Ulomov, 1997). In the adjacent areas to the south, for Italy the
seismic hazard data were directly incorporated from the Adria region (Slejko
et al, 1999), for Slovenia a national map was provided by Zabukovec (1998)
and for Romania the data were part of a special project covering large
parts of the Balkans (cf. Musson, 1999). The seismic hazard assessments
carried out at the GSHAP Regional Centre in Potsdam were, in agreement
with the national partners, extended to cover also southern France down
to the Pyrenees, although this area is located south of the GSHAP Region
The scattered seismic activity in western France and Great Britian is
not well understood and is yet hard to relate to known neotectonic elements
(Musson, 1997). The seismic activity of Fennoscandia, with concentration
mainly in some coastal regions of Norway and Sweden, has been interpreted
partly as a result of deglaciation, partly may have tectonic origin, i.e.,
push from the Mid Atlantic ridge (e.g., see Wahlström, 1993). In the
northwestern part of the GSHAP Region 3, the Mid-Atlantic ridge zone crossing
Iceland creates a narrow belt of relatively high seismic activity. On the
contrary, nearly aseismic areas are represented by Ireland, the North German
basin and the East European platform, i.e., the area northeast of the mountainous
parts surrounding the Pannonian basin and the Bohemian massif.
In the absence of a homogenized earthquake catalogue for the GSHAP Region
3, based on uniformely treated original data, a seismicity working-file
was compiled from available but in several cases confidential sources.
The geographical borders of this working-file are extended by at least
2 degrees compared to the defined area subject to the seismic hazard calculations.The
creation of this working-file was to some extent carried out as a joint
venture between the GSHAP Regional Centre 3 and the CEC project "Basic
European Earthquake Catalogue and Database for the evaluation of longterm
seismicity and seismic hazard (BEECD)" (Stucchi, 1998). The working-file,
based on the current and most complete versions of national catalogues,
is produced by cautiously merging all input catalogues into a single file
without eliminating individual entries. When different catalogues have
different interpretations of an event, the highest priority was generally
given to the catalogue of the country where the event occurred.
The seismicity working-file was created on the basis of, in most cases,
current versions of national earthquake catalogues: Austria (Lenhardt,
1996), Belgium (Verbeiren et al., 1994), the Czech Republic (Schenková,
1993), Croatia (_iv_i_, 1994), Denmark (Gregersen, 1995), Fennoscandia
(Ahjos and Uski, 1994; Earthquakes in Northern Europe, 1997), France (Lambert
et al., 1996), Germany (Leydecker, 1986; Grünthal, 1988), Iceland
(Halldorsson, 1997), Hungary (Zsíros et al., 1994), Italy (Camassi
and Stucchi, 1997), The Netherlands (Houtgast, 1993, 1995), Poland (Guterch,
1995), Slovakia (Labák, 1998), Slovenia (_iv_i_, 1993; Ribari_,
1982), (former) Soviet Union (Kondorskaya and Shebalin, 1977; Nikonov,
1992; Nikonov and Sildvee, 1991; Boborikin et al., 1993), Switzerland (Mayer-Rosa
and Baer, 1993; Rüttener, 1995), United Kingdom (Musson, 1994). For
the Mid Atlantic ridge zone the ISC seismicity data file (1996) was used.
Some of the national catalogues represent new, improved but confidential
data and were made available exlusively for the Regional Centre 3 for the
purpose of GSHAP for the purpose of GSHAP.
As the first step, the seismicity data for the GSHAP Region 3 were homogenized
with respect to the epicentral or maximum intensity. The reason is that
within the long earthquake history in the study area, up to one millennium,
the vast majority of the events with essential importance for hazard assessment
is primarily known only by intensity.
In the following steps, a homogeneous moment magnitude, Mw, based working-file for the whole study area was developed. Reliable data on isoseismal areas, A, are available for a minority of the felt earthquakes. Based on carefully selected data of A and the seismic moment, M0, a set of empirical relations was established, e.g., the following for intensity III:
For most of the events empirical relations based on epicentral intensity,
I0, and focal depth, h, had to be applied to get MW
or M0. Attempts to create a relation for a direct conversion
failed due to very large scatter. To minimize the bias in the conversion
of I0 and h into Mw it was necessary to use an intermediate
conversion into the local magnitude, ML, and to treat different
national catalogues separately. In such a way empirical relations between
ML, I0 and h were created for the different national
catalogues. In the next step, a conversion relation was developed from
carefully selected, independently determined M0 and ML
data from the GSHAP Region 3:
It has to be stressed that the delineations shown in Fig. 3 represent
the superficial projections of the most shallow source zones. In several
areas with a distinct layering of seismicity or with pronounced deeper
events, a detailed delineation of source zones
was extended into depth. Furthermore for technical reasons several regions
with a complicated shape where split into different subregions with unique
? and area specific v. In total 285 "technical" seismic source zones have
been used for the computation. They represent 196 seismic source
It would be beyond the scope of this contribution to describe all the
tectonic background for the constructed source zones in detail. The most
prominent features are the sequence of zones delineating the Upper Rhein
area, the Middle Rhine area and the Lower Rhine embayment, the Mur-Mürz
zone in eastern Austria, the belt of seismic zones surrounding the Pannonian
basin and the Bohemian massif, the North Sea graben and its northern prolongation
as the Viking graben, and the Tornquist-Teisseyre zone forming the boundary
between the East European platform and the Baltic shield.
Elimination of foreshocks and aftershocks
The seismicity data file was made Poissonian by tagging the main shocks
and applying simultaneously a distance-window and two time-windows for
eliminating foreshocks and aftershocks. The window parameters, derived
from earthquake sequences in central Europe (Grünthal, 1985), are
dependent on the main shock magnitudes and are similar to those derived
for California by Gardener and Knopoff (1974).
Data completeness with time
The data completeness was studied for 12 gross regions defined according
to geographical and cultural-historical aspects which obviously influenced
the data compilation. The completeness with time has been analyzed with
different methods, the simplest based on a graphical test assuming that
a constant gradient for the cumulative number of events vs. time denotes
a homogeneous detection level (cf. Grünthal et al., 1998). The completeness
test was performed for ML in half magnitude classes.
Parameters of the magnitude - frequency relation
The parameters of the magnitude-frequency relation were determined for
each source region by a least squares fit.
In the case of poor data, the fit was performed for a larger area enclosing
also adjacent source regions with similar tectonic characteristics. From
the obtained b-values, the seismicity rate, v, was then calculated
separately for the source region in such cases.
Characteristic focal depth
The characteristic focal depth was assessed, for each seismic source
zone, as the mean of the dephts of the three to five strongest events in
the zone. Where this procedure was not applicable, default values representative
for larger surroundings were used. The characteristic focal depth varies
in the range 4-22 km, except for the Vrançea area (Romania) and
Fennoscandia. Several source zones required special consideration and different
depth horizons, i.e., source zones at different depths, were introduced,
e.g., in the Vrançea area with its intermediate depth earthquakes
and the Hainaut zone in Belgium characterized by both shallow and deeper
crustal events. For Fennoscandia, different weights were assigned to different
Upper bound earthquake magnitudes
The assigned upper bound magnitude for each source zone was chosen to
be well above the largest historically observed magnitude in that zone.
The assignments were made from various criteria such as earthquake catalogue
data, seismotectonics and paleoseismological data. They follow in general
the conclusions for intraplate seismicity in Coppersmith (1994) that in
areas of non-extended continental crust the maximum observed magnitudes
are in the range of 6.3±0.5 (MS mean value and standard
deviation) and in areas of extended continental crust 6.4±0.8. Higher
values have to be expected along the interplate Alpine belt and the Vrançea
area, where magnitude 7.7 earthquakes are generated by a downward sinking
slab of oceanic crust representing the final stage of subduction (Wenzel
et al., 1999). The smallest upper bound magnitudes are set at 6 in accordance
with Frankel (1996).
(1) The Fennoscandian shield, where the GSHAP group of the Nordic countries assigned equal weight to each of five pga-attenuation relations: Ambraseys et al. (1996), Atkinson and Boore (1997), NORSAR and Risk Engineering, Inc. (1991), Spudich et al. (1997) and Toro et al. (1997).
(2) The Vrançea area, with strong intermediate depth earthquakes influencing large parts of the northeastern Balkans, for which special attenuation relations were derived (Lungu et al., 1999).
(3) The remaining part of the GSHAP Region 3, covering quite different
tectonic units, where equal weight was assigned to each of the pga-attenuation
relations by Ambraseys et al. (1996), Sabetta and Pugliese (1996) and Spudich
et al. (1997). While Spudich et al. (1997) is focused on normal-faulting
events, which are dominating in large parts of this sub-area, e.g., in
the lower Rhine embayment, the other two relations were derived from entirely
European strong motion data. The three relations show good agreement over
the whole magnitude range.
6. Seismic hazard calculation and the resulting seismic hazard map
One of the main goals of GSHAP was to produce a homogeneous seismic
hazard map for horizontal peak ground acceleration representative for stiff
site conditions, for the probability level of an occurrence or exceedance
of 10% within 50 years. Different computer programs were used in the calculations.
Test calculations have shown that the code SEISRISK III (Bender and Perkins,
1987) as well as the classical EQRISK (McGuire, 1976) give almost identical
results. Since rather complicated geometrical shapes of seismic source
zones had to be handled, numerical problems occurred in the application
of SEISRISK III. Therefore, preference was given to the EQRISK code. Additionally,
the code FRISK88M (Risk Engineering, Inc., 1996) was made available for
the GSHAP Regional Centre for a limited time. Mean hazard values obtained
from FRISK88M and EQRISK, respectively, are very similar. FRISK88M has
a logic tree structure facilitating the calculation of fractile hazard
values. Mean and median hazard values differ, especially at low hazard
levels. For shorter return periods, such as the one specified by GSHAP,
the mean hazard often falls in the range of the 60-70% fractiles.
The hazard calculations were performed for a grid of points with a spacing of 0.1° in latitude, 0.1° in longitude except in northern Europe with 0.5° in latitude and 1.0° in longitude for a total of 59217 points. The final GSHAP Region 3 seismic hazard map is presented as Fig. 4. It does not include only the results from the above described approach carried out at the GSHAP Centre in Potsdam, since it was agreed or desired to incorporate also several regional results into the final map. These are:
(1) For Iceland the national map calculated for a slightly different hazard level of 2×10-3 p.a. The map was compiled for a working group on the new building code nominated by the Icelandic Standardization Council (P. Halldorsson, 1997). It is an improved version of the maps prepared for the National Application Document for the Eurocode 8 (BSTR, FRV og Rb, 1995).
(2) For Fennoscandia the almost identical local results of the Nordic GSHAP group (Bungum and Lindholm, 1997, Lindholm et al., 1997).
(3) For the East European platform, covering the most easterly part of the GSHAP Region 3, the results from the GSHAP Regional Centre 7 in Moscow (Ulomov, 1999). This region is almost aseismic, except for minor activity in Moldavia, southwest Ukraine and the most northwesterly part of Russia. The original intensity data were transformed to pga data using an empirical relation.
(4) For Romania the results of Musson (1999). They show slightly increased pga values compared to those derived at the Potsdam GSHAP Centre.
(5) For the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia the calculations by Schenk et al. (1997b), upon request.
(6) For the small parts of Italy (in the northeast) and Slovenia (in
the north) which belong to the GSHAP Region 3 study area, the results of
Slejko et al., 1998 and Zabukovec (1998), respectively.
For Ukraine, Moldavia and Romania minor adjustments were performed in
the border regions. The highest seismic hazard shown in Fig. 4 is found
in Romania, with the Vrançea area, and Iceland, at the active plate
boundary. Areas characterized by moderate seismic hazard (pga-values greater
than 1.6 m/s2 for the given hazard level) are northeastern Italy
(Friuli), the Wallis in southern Switzerland, a part of the Swabian Alb
(Hohenzollerngraben) in southwestern Germany and local areas in western
and southwestern Slovakia. A moderate to low seismic hazard level is represented
in most parts of the Alps, the Mur-Mürz zone in Austria, the circum-Pannonian
belt, parts of Hungary, southwestern Germany, the German-Belgian border
region of the lower Rhine embayment and coastal regions of Norway.
The continuation of the seismic hazard map south of GSHAP Region 3 is
presented in a report for Europe, Africa and the Middle East (Grünthal,
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