Preparation of the New Zealand earthquake catalogue for a probabilistic seismic hazard analysis
The seismic hazard from ground motions during a New Zealand earthquake is variable, and is dependent on the different tectonic processes that occur throughout the country. A modem probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) combines various data sets to take account of these different environmental effects and rates of occurrence. Earthquake catalogue data can be used to give the rate of background or distributed seismicity in historical times, while paleoseismic data can be used to constrain the return time of large earthquakes. The background seismicity is assumed to occur as a time-independent Poisson process. To apply this assumption to a new PSHA of New Zealand, completeness levels for the New Zealand earthquake catalogue were established, and aftershocks or clusters of events that occurred close together in both space and time were removed from the catalogue. The level of hazard in a region can be depth-dependent, that is the risk of a large earthquake may come from a shallow crustal event or a deep subduction zone event, both having the same epicentral location but resulting in different levels of damage. The New Zealand earthquake catalogue has too many events that have been assigned restricted depths to be ignored. These events have been statistically redistributed into shallow crustal zones or deep subducted slab zones based on the last eleven years of catalogue data, when improvements in technology have reduced the number of restricted events.
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Copyright (c) 2001 Peter McGinty
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