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Assessment of Seismic Hazard in Uttarakhand Himalaya

Assessment of Seismic Hazard in Uttarakhand Himalaya

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Published by Prabhat Kumar
Assessment of Seismic Hazard in Uttarakhand Himalaya
Assessment of Seismic Hazard in Uttarakhand Himalaya

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Published by: Prabhat Kumar on Apr 04, 2012
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Disaster Prevention and Management
Emerald Article: Assessment of seismic hazard in Uttarakhand Himalaya
Prabhat Kumar, Ashwini Kumar, Amita Sinvhal
Article information:
To cite this document: Prabhat Kumar, Ashwini Kumar, Amita Sinvhal, (2011),"Assessment of seismic hazard in UttarakhandHimalaya", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 20 Iss: 5 pp. 531 - 542Permanent link to this document:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09653561111178961Downloaded on: 29-03-2012References: This document contains references to 18 other documentsTo copy this document: permissions@emeraldinsight.comThis document has been downloaded 215 times.Access to this document was granted through an Emerald subscription provided by Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee
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Assessment of seismic hazard inUttarakhand Himalaya
Prabhat Kumar, Ashwini Kumar and Amita Sinvhal
 Department of Earthquake Engineering, IIT Roorkee, Roorkee, India
For a state like Uttarakhand, which is located in the seismically active Himalayan regionand in the vicinity of plate boundaries, estimation of seismic hazards and the preparation of a zoningmap are an urgent necessity. This paper aims to focus on this hazard.
In total, 32 potential seismo-tectonic source zones wereidentified in a very wide area in and around the state, on the basis of seismicity and tectonics, andthe longer ones were segmented. The maximum magnitude that each seismo-tectonic source zone cansupport was then estimated. The seismic hazard due to each seismo-tectonic source zone was assessedat 180 sites, in terms of peak ground acceleration (PGA).
– The maximum PGA at each site varied between 0.06
and 0.50
. The seismic hazard washighest around the main central thrust and the main boundary thrust, and five other thrusts betweenthese two thrusts. This assessment was adapted to make a seismic zoning map of Uttarakhand, withfive distinct zones.
Research limitations/implications
If seismo-tectonic source zones from the contiguous regionsof Nepal and Tibet were included as part of this assessment, then a higher hazard would be expected inUttarakhand.
Practical implications
– Threat perceptions of a potential earthquake disaster can be assessed inthis zoning map. Disaster mitigation strategies will vary geographically, with priorities defined by thezoning map presented here. The methodology evolved has the potential to be extended to othervulnerable states in the Himalayan arc.
– The seismic hazard assessed has been adapted to formulate a seismic zoningmap of Uttarakhand.
Himalayas, Seismicity, Tectonics, Uttarakhand, Hazards, Zoning map, Natural disasters,Earthquakes
Paper type
Research paper
The Indian subcontinent is a seismically active part of the world. Major seismicactivity in India is concentrated along the geologically young and seismo-tectonicallyactive Himalayan arc due to the ongoing continent-continent collision between theIndian and Eurasian plates. As part of the Alpine Himalayan seismic belt this arc hasexperienced four great earthquakes, i.e. earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 8,within 53 years. No great earthquake has occurred within the Himalayan arc since1950, i.e. in the last 60 years, and such an earthquake could occur any time soon.The Himalayan state of Uttarakhand lies in the region between epicenters of twogreat earthquakes, namely the Kangra (1905) and Bihar Nepal earthquakes (1934). Thisseismic gap (Khattri, 1987) has not experienced a major earthquake during a timeinterval when most other segments of the gap have ruptured. Seismic gaps aresupposed to have a high future earthquake potential. Therefore, there is an urgent needto assess seismic hazard and have a detailed zoning map of the state. Seismic hazard
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Assessment of seismic hazard
Disaster Prevention and ManagementVol. 20 No. 5, 2011pp. 531-542
Emerald Group Publishing Limited0965-3562DOI 10.1108/09653561111178961
involves a quantitative estimate of ground shaking at a particular site or within anarea.
Seismicity and seismic source zones
To assess seismic hazard it is essential to first identify seismic source zones. Thisrequires a detailed examination of the seismicity pattern of the area in and aroundUttarakhand. Initially, a very wide area, falling between the great Kangra earthquakeof 1905 and the great Bihar Nepal earthquake of 1934 was selected. This area liesbetween latitude 25
N to 37
N and longitude 72
E to 87
E. A catalogue of earthquakedata, as per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), revealed 2,097 epicenters of magnitude 4 and above for the period 1552 to 2007, as shown in Figure 1[1]. The spatialdistribution of seismicity is non-uniform. A diffuse pattern was observed over a verylarge area, whereas several clusters of epicenters were aligned in an almostNorthwest-Southeast trending belt, parallel to the Himalayan trend, between theepicenters of the two great earthquakes.This NW-SE trending seismic belt passes through Uttarakhand. Elevenearthquakes of a magnitude of more than 6.0 have originated within the state since
1552. The Uttarkashi earthquake of October 20, 1991 (magnitude
6.5, USGS), and the Chamoli earthquake of March 29, 1999 (magnitude
6.4, USGS) had the highest magnitude of all earthquakes to originate within thestate.A region where seismicity is concentrated can be considered to indicate apreliminary seismic source zone. The observed pattern of seismicity can be taken torepresent the expected future pattern of seismicity. Since epicentral data available forUttarakhand and the region around it is available for a short span of time as comparedto the average return period between large earthquakes, seismicity alone was notenough to identify seismic source zones. The inclusion of tectonics helped incircumventing this problem.
Tectonic units
The most commonly used tectonic units considered for assessing seismic hazard arefaults and thrusts. Initially, the regional tectonic set-up of the area was examined(Narula
et al.
, 2000), for the same area as for seismicity. Tectonic features such asfaults, thrusts, suture zones and lineaments identified and digitized using a GISsoftware package, are shown in Figure 1. The vast study area for which seismicity wasinitially studied was narrowed down to a distance of about 300km from every corner of Uttarakhand.Due to collision zone tectonics a complex network of mega faults, thrusts and suturezones exists in the area. North and South of the Indus Suture Zone (ISZ), which formsthe tectonic boundary between the Indian and Eurasian plates, are the TethysHimalayas and the Main Central Thrust (MCT), respectively. The two mega-thrusts,MCT and the Main Boundary Thrust (MBT), separate three geologically distinctsettings. The Greater Himalayas lie North of the MCT, between the MCT and ISZ; theLesser Himalayas lie between MCT and MBT; and the Outer Himalaya lie South of theMBT. The Main Frontal Thrust (MFT), also known as the Frontal Foothill Thrust,FFT, is South of the MBT, and is a neo-tectonic thrust. These form the foothillsbordering the Indo Gangetic plains. The ISZ, MCT, MBT and FFT manifest

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