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Evaluation of the potential for large earthquakes in regions of present day low seismic activity in Europe

Objective



Recent paleoseismic investigations in the Belgian part of the Roer-Lower Rhine graben system provide evidence of surface faulting caused by large earthquakes having occurred during the Holocene (less than 10,000 years ago). These observations raise questions about the classical approach of developing seismic hazard assessment based solely on historical and instrumental seismicity catalogues in regions considered erroneously as tectonically stable and show the importance of paleoseismic studies for estimating the potential of large earthquakes in these regions of Europe.

The objectives of the project are:

1) to establish a research method to identify paleoearthquakes in present-day low active seismic zones in Europe.

2) to obtain informations about the mechanical behaviour of seismogenic faults to quantify the return period and the dimensions of highly destructive earthquakes in these zones.

3) to establish a formulation of the results directly available for seismic hazard analysis.

To meet these objectives, the project considers regions with different seismotectonics context: The Roer Graben - Lower Rhine Embayment region and the Upper Rhine Graben characterized by extensive continental deformation and the Trentino-Alto Adige (eastern Alps) and the eastern Pyrenees which are regions under compressive tectonic stress field.

Description of the research project.

In the different test areas, the following tasks will be partly or completely (tasks 1, 3 and 5) realized:

1. Identification of seismogenic active faults by field investigations using new and already existing geologic, geochemical and geomorphological methodologies and data coupled with geophysical prospection (radar, seismic and electric) and remote sensing.

2. Detailed geomorphological analysis to establish a relationship between the age of surface rupturing earthquakes and the degradation of active fault scarps.

3. Excavation of trenches at adequate sites

- to identify Late Pleistocene and (or) Holocene coseismic surface faulting.
- eventually to identify single earthquakes and to study more than one single seismic cycle.

- to study induced deformations in low-consolidated sediments caused by paleoearthquakes.

4. Study of the potential effects of paleoearthquakes on archeological vestiges and speleothems.

5. Evaluation of the uncertainty in the parameters describing the paleoearthquakes as a basis for seismic hazard assessment.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

ROYAL OBSERVATORY OF BELGIUM
Address
3,Avenue Circulaire 3
1180 Bruxelles
Belgium

Participants (22)

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE
France
Address
Avenue Clement Ader 1
86961 Chasseneuil Du Poitou
COMMISSARIAT A L'ENERGIE ATOMIQUE
France
Address
Avenue Du General Leclerc 60-68
92265 Fontenay Aux Roses
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)
Italy
Address
Via Del Fosso Del Cavaliere
00133 Roma
Faculté Polytechnique de Mons
Belgium
Address
9,Rue Houdain
7000 Mons
Faculté Polytechnique de Mons
Belgium
Address
9,Rue Houdain
7000 Mons
GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF BELGIUM
Belgium
Address
13,Jennerstraat 13
1040 Bruxelles
GEOLOGIE TECTONIQUE ENVIRONNEMENT ET RISQUES
France
Address
3,Rue Jean Monnet 3
34830 Clapiers
GEOSCIENCES CONSULTANTS SARL
France
Address
Boulevard Brune 189
75014 Paris
Generalitat de Catalunya
Spain
Address
Parc De Montjuic
08038 Barcelona
Geologisches Landesamt Nordrhein-Westfalen
Germany
Address
195,De-greiff-strasse
47803 Krefeld
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
Belgium
Address
Oude Markt 13
3000 Louvain / Leuven
MUSEO TRIDENTINO DI SCIENZE NATURALI
Italy
Address
Via Calepina 14
393 Trento
NETHERLANDS ORGANISATION FOR APPLIED SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH - TNO
Netherlands
Address
97,Terrein University College Utrecht, Gebouw U En W,
3508 TA Utrecht
ROYAL NETHERLANDS METEOROLOGICAL INSTITUTE
Netherlands
Address
10,Wilhelminalaan 10
3730 AE De Bilt
TARNIUM SARL
France
Address
Plan De L'ormeau, 10
34190 Ganges
UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA
Spain
Address
Gran Via De Les Corts Catalanes 585
Barcelona
UNIVERSITE DE LIEGE
Belgium
Address
Boulevard Du Rectorat - Sart Tilman B19
4000 Liege
UNIVERSITE HENRI POINCARE NANCY 1
France
Address
Rue Lionnois 24-30
Nancy
UNIVERSITY OF BERGEN
Norway
Address
41,Allegatan 41
5007 Bergen
Universität Köln
Germany
Address
26,Vinzenz-pallotti-str.
51429 Bergisch Gladbach
Université de Paris-Sud XI
France
Address
Avenue Georges Clémenceau
91405 Orsay
Université de Strasbourg I (Université Louis Pasteur)
France
Address
5 Rue René Descartes
67084 Strasbourg