A Probabilistic Assessment of Earthquake Hazard Parameters in NW Himalaya and the Adjoining Regions

Yadav R. B. S. , BAYRAK Y. , Tripathi J. N. , Chopra S., Singh A. P. , BAYRAK E.

PURE AND APPLIED GEOPHYSICS, vol.169, no.9, pp.1619-1639, 2012 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 169 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00024-011-0434-8
  • Page Numbers: pp.1619-1639


The maximum likelihood estimation method is applied to study the geographical distribution of earthquake hazard parameters and seismicity in 28 seismogenic source zones of NW Himalaya and the adjoining regions. For this purpose, we have prepared a reliable, homogeneous and complete earthquake catalogue during the period 1500-2010. The technique used here allows the data to contain either historical or instrumental era or even a combination of the both. In this study, the earthquake hazard parameters, which include maximum regional magnitude (M (max)), mean seismic activity rate (lambda), the parameter b (or beta = b/log e) of Gutenberg-Richter (G-R) frequency-magnitude relationship, the return periods of earthquakes with a certain threshold magnitude along with their probabilities of occurrences have been calculated using only instrumental earthquake data during the period 1900-2010. The uncertainties in magnitude have been also taken into consideration during the calculation of hazard parameters. The earthquake hazard in the whole NW Himalaya region has been calculated in 28 seismogenic source zones delineated on the basis of seismicity level, tectonics and focal mechanism. The annual probability of exceedance of earthquake (activity rate) of certain magnitude is also calculated for all seismogenic source zones. The obtained earthquake hazard parameters were geographically distributed in all 28 seismogenic source zones to analyze the spatial variation of localized seismicity parameters. It is observed that seismic hazard level is high in Quetta-Kirthar-Sulaiman region in Pakistan, Hindukush-Pamir Himalaya region and Uttarkashi-Chamoli region in Himalayan Frontal Thrust belt. The source zones that are expected to have maximum regional magnitude (M (max)) of more than 8.0 are Quetta, southern Pamir, Caucasus and Kashmir-Himanchal Pradesh which have experienced such magnitude of earthquakes in the past. It is observed that seismic hazard level varies spatially from one zone to another which suggests that the examined regions have high crustal heterogeneity and seismotectonic complexity.