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May, 2008


PREFACE Government of Kerala has constituted an Expert Committee for studying the structural stability of Mullaperiyar dam considering the seismic safety vide GO (RT) No. 1087/2007/WRD dated 10.08.2007. The Chief Engineer I& A and ISW approached the Department of Earthquake Engineering, IIT Roorkee for such studies and awarded it. The studies are being carried out in two parts, Part ISeismic Hazard Assessment for Mullaperiyar Dam Site and Part II- Seismic Safety Analysis of the Composite Dam by Finite Elements Method. This report is about the Part I i.e Seismic hazard assessment. The present report consists of final report on the recommendations made for the site dependent spectra and the conditions in which the existing dam has to be checked for its safety under MCE condition. Useful discussions held with the officials of I & A and ISW at various stages of study regarding the site specific studies are gratefully acknowledged. Special thanks to Er. N. Sasi, Chief Engineer, Dr. Arun Bapat, Chairman, Expert Committee, Er. M.K. Parameswaran Nair, Member Civil (Retd.), KSEB, Er. A. P. Balan, Superintending Engineer, Er. James Wilson, Asst. Exe. Engineer, KSEB; and Er. G. Anil Kumar, Joint Director, Dam Safety. The work reported here in was carried out by Dr. D.K. Paul, Professor, Dr. M. L. Sharma, Professor and Dr. J. Das, Scientist at the Department of Earthquake Engineering.

(D. K. Paul) Professor Deptt. of Earthquake Engineering IIT Roorkee



Preface ............................................................................................................. i Contents .......................................................................................................... ii 1.0 Introduction ............................................................................................. 1 2.0 Regional geology and tectonics of the region ............................................ 2 3.0 Earthquake occurrences ............................................................................ 8 4.0 Deterministic seismic hazard assessment ................................................... 11 4.1 Definitions...................................................................................... 11 4.1.1 Maximum Considered Earthquake (MCE) ............................ 11 4.1.2 Design Basis Earthquake (DBE) ......................................... 11 4.2 Estimation of Maximum Considered Earthquake ........................... 11 4.2.1 Earthquake Parameters ......................................................... 11 5.0 Probabilistic seismic Hazard Assessment ................................................ 14 5.1 Seismic Hazard Parameter……………………………………………15 5.2 Strong Ground Motion Estimation ..................................................... 16 6.0 7.0 8.0 Seismic Hazard Assessment at the Site…………………………………..20 Summary & Recommendations………………………………………… 20 References…………………………………………….……..……….…....21 Appendix I …………………………………………………….…………. 25





The Mullaperiyar dam consists of two dams, (i) Main Mullaperiyar dam and (ii) Baby dam. These were constructed in lime surkhi mortar in 1895. The dams are now about more than 110 years old. The design of dam did not consider the uplift pressure at the base and the seismic forces. It is also expected that the dam materials might have

deteriorated over the years and the residual strength of the dam may not be enough to withstand future earthquakes in the vicinity of dam. The dam has a history of repair and strengthening over the years by cement grouting, by cable pre stressing and by buttressing by concrete backing. Any eventuality of failure of the dam may lead to disastrous effect to the downstream settlement and infrastructure. In view of the above, Government of Kerala has rightly under taken the fresh studies on stability of the Mullaperiyar dam to avert any disaster in future in the event of any future moderate earthquake. The studies have been awarded to the Department of Earthquake Engineering, IIT Roorkee. The studies have been carried out in two parts, Part I- Seismic hazard assessment around the dam site and Part II- Seismic safety analysis of the composite dam by finite elements method. This report is about the Part I, i.e. seismic hazard assessment.

The Mullaperiyar dam site lies in Seismic Zone III as per the seismic zoning map of India incorporated in Indian Standard Criteria for Earthquake Resistant Design of Structures (IS: 1893 (Part 1): 2002). The probable intensity of earthquake in seismic Zone III corresponds to VII according to Comprehensive Intensity Scale (MSK-64) and structures

designed as per recommended design parameters for this zone would generally prevent loss of human life and only repairable damage could occur. However, the recommended design parameters in IS: 1893(Part 1): 2002 are for preliminary design of important structures and to ensure seismic resistant structure like dams and also to adequately safeguard heavy investment concentrated in one area, it is desirable to carryout site specific studies for final design of important structures.

The site specific seismic hazard estimation for design earthquake parameters include studies related to the regional geology, local geology around the site, earthquake

occurrences in the region around the site and seismotectonic modelling of the region for the estimation of strong ground motion. The studies have been taken up for the seismic hazard assessment.



The Mullaperiyar site lies on the western coast of India in the State of Kerala. The tectonic features near to the sites are the Periyar fault, Ottopalam Kuttampuzha Fault, and Kattagudi Kokkal Palani fault. There are several faults, shear zones and lineaments around the site which are seismogenic and have to be considered for the seismic hazard assessment. For the study of regional geology and tectonic set up of the region a 6° X 6° area bounded by latitudes 6.25°N and 12.25°N and longitudes 73.5°E and 79.5°E around the site (Figure 1) has been considered.

The study area encompasses Kerala and Tamil Nadu states of South India. This forms part of Indian Peninsula and is one of the classic Archean terrains in the world. This region preserves all the elements of the well-developed Archean continental crust, such as the granulites, grantie gneisses and greenstone belts. The triangular shape of the southern part of the Indian Peninsula seems to have acquired its outline at the beginning

of the Cretaceous and the major geological events in this part might have taken place during its existence in the Gondwanaland (Katz, 1978).

The Kerala region, consisting of Archean gneisses, charnockites, and Proterozoic khodalites and associated gneisses constitutes part of the ‘charnockitic’ mobile belt of South India. It seems that the region consisted of a system of rifts, which became filled with shallow water sediments derived from the surroundings (Soman, 2002). The west coast faulting marks the last tectonic activity of the region during Late Cretaceous-Early Paleocene times. However, faulting in Late Cretaceous time responsible for separating India from Madagascar along the southwest coast of India were probably located at some distance west of the present coast (Krishnan, 1968). Occurrence of Late Cretaceous strata in the offshore basin and the available geophysical data indicate presence of fault to the about 50 km west of the coast, extending towards south from 19°15/N (Closs et al., 1974; Naini and Talwani, 1982).

Two major tectonic provinces could be recognized in the Kerala region, which are the Precambrian Tectonic Province and the Tertiary Tectonic Province. The Precambrian tectonic province comprises the higher ranges of the Western Ghats whereas, a narrow belt mostly between coastal and midland region extending from Trivandrum in the south to Kasaragod in the north constitutes the Tertiary Tectonic Province (Soman, 2002). The foothills and parts of the midland forms the western limb of a NNW plunging synclinorium, the axis of which is traceable from Tuticorin in the south to Dharwar and Belgaum in the north (Rao, 1974). The regional strike of foliation of Precambrian rocks is NW-SE to WNW-ESE with a steep dip towards SW. The Tertiary rocks are almost horizontal to sub-horizontal.

The region has been subjected to extensive folding as indicated by presence of different fold pattern. Rocks of the Precambrian tectonic province underwent many period (at least five) of tectogenesis. Foliation pattern varies from NW-SE in the southern part of the

state to NE-SW in the northern part (Nilgiri range). The E-W strike may possibly be the westerly continuation of the strike of the Nilgiris and may have a bearing on presence of the Palghat Gap (Krishnan, 1982). Based on a detailed structural analysis of the Precambrian rocks of Trivundrum and Quilon districts, Sinha-Roy (1980) established four deformation phases as manifested by structures of four generations.

Lineaments with (1) NW-SE to WNW-ESE, (2) NNW-SSE to N-S and (3) ENE-WSW trends have been identified within Archean territory of the Kerala region (Varadarajan and Balakrishnan, 1980; Nair, 1990). In some cases, these coincide with the established fault zones like the Idamalayar fault, identifiable by the emplacement of basic dykes with their margins showing slickensided micaceous planes. The WNW-ESE trending lineaments are (1) Achankovil-Tambraparni shear zone, identified as a major shear belt of Proterozoic age (Drury et al., 1984). This shear zone limits the south Kerala Khondalite belt to the north with a distinct zone of highly sheared gneisses (Sacks et al., 1997). South of it lies the parallel Tenmala shear and Shearing might have taken place during the Pan-African and prior to 550-540 Ma (Sacks et al., 1997). Major WNW-ESE Bavali lineament show emplacement of rocks. Muvattupuzha-Thekkadi and Palghat Gap fracture zones are the other WNW-ESE lineaments. These fracture zones appear to extend into the coastal belt (Varadarajan and Balakrishnan, 1980; Nair and Rao, 1980). Palghat Gap fracture and Achankovil-Tenmala shears show evidences of later reactivation and recent activity along these shears is indicated by earth tremors. Both the NW-SE and WNW-ESE lineaments often appear to be en-echelon in nature and the NWSE trending lineaments are older as these have been disturbed by later WNW-ESE lineaments. Further, WNW-ESE lineaments also show activity as the fracture sets exhibit brittle displacement and occurrence of 1994 Wadakkancheri (Palghat Gap) earthquake (M=4.3).

The NNW-SSE to N-S lineaments is more prominent in the southern and northern extremity of the Western Ghats. These lineaments can be identified on the satellite

images representing a series of prominent, generally intermediate lineaments (around 50 km length) mainly at the contact zone between the steeply rising Western Ghats and step like coastal terraces. The WNW-SSE trending lineaments define a weak zone along which the west coast evolved by faulting, and the Western Ghat uplifted. Indirect evidences like the displacement of laterites and youthful geomorphological features indicate that these movements have extended throughout Tertiary and well into the Quaternary period. Recent tremors along the NNW-SSE Idamalayar lineament would indicate that this is active even today (Soman, 2002). The NE-SW to ENE-WSW lineaments is present both within the Western Ghats and in the coastal belt. The ENEWSW fractures controls the west flowing rivers in the Western Ghats. It is suggested that the southernmost parts of the Western Ghats have been uplifted along these faults (Nair, 1990). Recent activity along these fractures is evident from the earth tremors occurring along these lineaments within the Western Ghats (e.g. the tremors along the Bodinayakkannur pass on June7-8, 1988.

In Tamil Nadu Precambrian crystalline rocks cover over 80 percent of the terrain and towards north, rocks of the Charnockite Group and migmatites are dominant. Faults and crustal fractures in the terrain trend NNE-SSW and in some localities are these features are marked by syenite, carbonatite and ultramafic emplacements. In this region several tectonic blocks have been recognized. These are southern Karnataka-North Tamil Nadu block, Coimbatore-Salem block, Madurai block and Trivandrum block (Srikantia, 1999). These blocks are separated by the Moyar-Bhavani-Attur fault, the Palghat-Cauvery fault and the Achankovil fault. The Madurai block, bounded by the Palghat-Cauvery fault in the north and the Achankovil fault in the south is also known as the Pandyan mobile belt (Ramakrishnan, 1994). Again on the basis of different lithological assemblages, igneous intrusives, styles of deformation Gopalakrishnan et al. (1990) recognized independent tectonic blocks, separated by linear belts in the Tamil Nadu terrain. These blocks are the Yercaud-Madras Tectonic Block (YM), the Dimbam-Tattakarai-Krishnagiri Block

(DTK), the Gudiyattam-Arakkkonam Block (GA) and the Tiruchirapalli-MaduraiPalayamkottai (TMP).

The NE-SW fold trend is well defined in the Kalrayan, Chittery and Shevaroy hills. In the Nilgiri hills, the NE-SW trend is defined in the eastern part and in the western part the trend swerves to NW-SE, suggesting the culmination of the two trends in the Nilgiri hills. Studies near Chennai have brought out five generations of folds with concomitant metamorphism and anatexis. This style of folding is considered to have given rise to a series of culminations and depressions in the form of domes and basins, as near Tiruvannamalai. Faults and fractures in five directions, including E-W to WNW-ESE,

NNE-SSW to NE-SW, ENE-WSW, N-S and NW-SE have been deciphered in the state. The E-W to WNW-ESE system is defined by the Moyar-Bhavani-Attur and PalghatCauvery faults, characterized by anorthosite, ultramafic and granite emplacements. The NNE-SSW faults are marked by syenite and carbonatite bodies in the northern part of Tamil Nadu and also define the crystalline-sedimentary contact near the east coast. The Mettupalaiam-Bhavani Sagar fault, skirting the southern and the southeastern foothills of the Nilgrir hills trends in a NNE-SSW direction.

In the study area, the Cauvery Shear Zone (Cauvery fault) is the most extensive tectonic feature that has been interpreted as an ancient suture zone. The feature is an E-W running zone with a maximum width of about 60 km and marks a line of division between the Dharwar Craton in the north and the Pandyan Mobile belt in the south. The western extension of the belt in Kerala constitutes the Wynad Schist Complex and towards the east coast of Tamil Nadu, the belt goes down under Phanerozoic sediments. Difference in structural styles is also defined in the terrains to the north and south of the Cauvery Shear Zone (CSZ). Cauvery fault truncates the structural trend to the south of the suture zone in the Tiruchirapalli-Madurai-Palayamkottai block.


There are several other shear zones present in the study area. The Moyar-Bhavani shear zone (Moyar-Bhavani-Attur fault) has also been considered to be a suture zone (Srikantappa, 1993). The Gangavalli shear zone trends in a NNE-SSW direction and marked by the presence of phyllonites and cataclasites. The NW-SE trending Achankovil Shear (AS) zone truncates the regional fabric and fold patterns in this part of Western Ghat hills ranges. This shear zone marks the northern boundary of the KanyakumariTenkasi Belt (KTSB) running in a roughly NW-SE. Palar Lineament marking the contact between the Gudiyattam-Arakkonam Block (GA) in the north and Yercaud-Madras Block in the south is narrow when compared to the other three straight belts. It is marked by emplacement of granite bodies near Sholinghar and Tiruttani.

There are differences in opinions with regard to various faults and shear zones and their tectogenesis. Drury et al. (1984) considered the Achankovil, the Palghat-Cauvery and the Moyar-Bhavani lineaments as shear zones marking collision. Naha and Srinivasan (1996) opined that the Moyar-Bhavani shear zone is a steeply dipping thrust. The PalghatCauvery shear zone is underlain by gneiss with roots of supracrustals and dismembered basic complexes (Ramakrishnan, 1988). According to Mahadevan (1999) several ductile shears in the Precambrian terrain could be the result of differential uplift of ArcheanProterozoic high-grade blocks. The Nilgiri hills, the Palani hills and the Agasthyamalai hills, forming parts of the Western Ghat hill ranges, are interpreted to have evolved as horsts. A prominent E-W trending graben with a Precambrian basement from near Palghat in the west to Tiruchirapalli-Thanjavur in the east is suggested by aeromagnetic studies. The Kerala-Tirunelveli trough structure extending beyond the Gulf of Mannar is thought to be a structural feature that has resulted by block faulting (Mahadevan, 1994).

The study area is traversed by numerous lineaments. The major lineament directions coincide with known fault/shear directions, and that most of them originated, while the region was well within the Gondwanaland. The NW-SE faults were the earliest, and ultimately determined the configuration of the west coast. The WNW-ESE lineaments,

hosting Proterozoic dykes in north Kerala, and early Paleozoic granites and pegmatites towards south, constituted intra-cratonic basin boundaries. The NE-SW to ENE-WSW fault lineaments are the youngest (Nair, 1990) as the recent activity is recorded in all the sets. Whereas, in Tamil Nadu, faults and fractures in five directions, including E-W to WNW-ESE, NNE-SSW to NE-SW, ENE-WSW, N-S and NW-SE are present in the state. Syenite, carbonatite and ultramafic emplacements mark faults and crustal fractures in some localities. 3.0 EARTHQUAKE OCCURRENCE

Historical and instrumentally recorded data on earthquakes show that the area of Mullaperiyar, Kerala and its neighbourhood lies in a region which is prone to the earthquakes of slight to moderate intensity. The seismicity around the Mullaperiyar Dam site is given in Appendix I. The prominent amongst them are the earthquake of April 1st 1843 (Magnitude =6.0 on Richter scale) at Bellary (Karnataka); the earthquake of February 8th, 1900 (Magnitude = 6.0) at Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu). The Bellary

earthquake was reported to be felt throughout peninsular region including Kerala and caused some damage near the epicenter. The maximum seismic intensity at the epicenter due to this earthquake was estimated to be VII on the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale. Whereas, the Coimbatore earthquake of February 8th, 1900 occurred in the close proximity to an east west trending fault. This earthquake was widely felt in Kerala state and produced a maximum seismic intensity of VII on MMI scale at the epicentre.

The region around Mullaperiyar dam of Kerala has also witnessed several slight to moderate magnitude earthquakes in the past. A sequence of earthquakes is reported to have occurred during June7-8, 1988 in bordering area of Kottayam, Idukki and Ernakulam districts of Kerala. In this sequence three events had magnitude between 3.5 and 4.5. Another earthquake of magnitude 3.8 occurred in Wadakkancheri region of


Thrissur district of Kerala on December 2nd, 1994. This earthquake and following a few aftershocks, created panic among the residents of Wadakkanncheri.

In the recent past an earthquake of magnitude 5.0 on the Richter scale occurred on December 12th, 2000 in the bordering regions of Idukki and Kottayam districts of Kerala. This earthquake was widely felt in Kerala and adjoining parts of Tamil Nadu. No major damage was reported; however, cracks appeared in some houses in the epicentral area. This earthquake was followed by a series of aftershocks of lesser magnitude, some of which were felt locally. The maximum magnitude of aftershocks was 3.9. Subsequent to this earthquake, another earthquake of magnitude 4.8 on the Richter scale occurred in the same region in the morning of January7, 2001. A field survey conducted in the affected area shows that cracks developed in some buildings in Kottayam district. Damages caused during this earthquake appeared to be more than those in the previous one of December 12, 2000; it appears that the cracks developed during the previous earthquake gave way for the damages noticed in this earthquake. The January 7, 2001 earthquake was also followed by a series of aftershocks. The occurrence of earthquakes in Mullaperiyar region is largely associated with the tectonics of various seismogenic sources present in the region.

The epicentres of earthquakes around the Mullaperiyar dam site, Kerala are shown in Fig. 1 in a 60 X 60 (latitudes 6.25°N and 12.25°N and longitudes 73.5°E and 79.5°E) area.


M<5 5<M<6

6<M<7 Site

Fault Thrust


Fig.1 Seismotectonic set up around the Mullaperiyar Dam site, Kerala. (After GSI (2000) Seismotectonic Atlas of India and its Environs)
AS - Achankovil shear, TF - Tenmalai fault, TKF - Telkkadi Kodaivannalur Fault, CSCF - Crystalline-Sediments Contact Fault, MVF - Malayattur – Vadakkanetreri Fault, OKF – Ottapalam Kuttampuzha Fault, PKE - Pattikkad Kolllengol Fault, PF - Periyar Fault, VAF - Valtari Anaimudi Fault, KKPF - Kottagudi Kokkal Palani Fault, AVF Ayakkudi Virupaksha Fault, VRF - Vaigai River Fault, MTF -Manamelkudi-Tondi Fault, AF - Amaradakki Fault, RDF - Rajamatam – Devipattinam Fault, CF - Cauveri Fault, BS - Bhavani Shear, BF - Bhavali Fault, MS - Moyar Shear, TpF - Tiruppur Fault, BKF - Bhavani Kanumudi Fault, MEF - Mettur East Fault, MF - Mian Fault, SAS Salem Attur Shear, AtF - Attur Fault, PRF – Pambar River fault, AmF - Amirdi Fault.


4.0 4.1


4.1.1 Maximum Considered Earthquake (MCE)

The Maximum Considered Earthquake is defined as the earthquake that can cause the most severe ground motion capable of being produced at the site under the currently known seismotectonic framework. It is a rational and believable event, which can be supported by all known geological and seismological data. It is determined by judgment based on maximum earthquake that a tectonic region can produce considering the geological evidence on past movement and the recorded seismic history of the area.

4.1.2 Design Basis Earthquake (DBE)

The Design Basis Earthquake is defined as that earthquake which can reasonably be expected to occur during the economic life of the structure (say 100 years) and in the event of exposure to earthquake hazards it will not cause loss of life and the structure will undergo permissible deformations and repairable damage such that the structure, equipment facilities and services will remain functional after the earthquake. As design criteria the resulting ground accelerations at the site under DBE may be taken as a fraction of MCE based on engineering judgment for adopted design methodology.


Estimation of Maximum Considered Earthquake (MCE)

4.2.1 Earthquake Parameters

Based on the regional geology along with the seismotectonics as described in sections 2.0 to 4.0 the parameters for maximum probable earthquake magnitude which can be

generated from the potential seismogenic sources around the site are given in Table 1, wherein nine such sources have been considered for deterministic analysis. The peak ground horizontal acceleration estimates are made using empirical formulae worked out

by some of the research workers for various tectonic environment.


relationships are derived by regression analysis using different distance measures and magnitude measures. Thus different relationships provide different estimates of probable ground acceleration and a judicious decision to estimate ground acceleration is therefore required for adoption in any particular situation.

ICOLD Bulletin 72 (1989) recommends use of some empirical relationships like that of Campbell (1981) and Joyner and Boore (1981). Subsequently, Abrahamson and Litehiser (1989) using formulation similar to the above have made comprehensive

recommendations based on analysis of 585 records from 76 worldwide earthquakes. For the present study attenuation relationship proposed by Abrahamson and Litehiser (1989) has been used. The regression used a two-step procedure that is hybrid of the Joyner and Boore (1981) and Campbell (1981) regression methods. The horizontal acceleration attenuation relation is as follows:

log(a ) = −0.62 + 0.177M − 0.982 log(r + e

) + 0.132F − 0.0008Er


where, a is peak horizontal acceleration, r is the closest distance (in km) from site to the zone of energy release, M is the magnitude ( ML < 6.0 and Ms > 6.0) following Campbell (1981) where Ms is used if it is greater than or equal to 6., F is dummy variable that is 1 for reverse or reverse oblique fault otherwise 0, and E is a dummy variable that is 1 for inter-plate and 0 for intra-plate events. The rupture width is estimated using Wells and Coppersmith, (1994) relationship
log( RW ) = −1.01 + 0.32 M


where RW is the rupture width. In case the rupture width is less than the general focal depths of the region ( FD ) then the depth to the zone of energy release is estimated as

Dz = NSD + ( FD −

RW 2

sin α )


where NSD is non seismogenic depth and α is the dip angle. When the rupture width is more than FD the depth to the zone of energy release is estimated as

Dz = NSD +

RW sin α 2


The distance to the zone of energy release De is estimated using the depth to the zone of energy release Dz and the epicentral distance Ep as

De =



+ Dz



If the site is on hanging wall of the thrust type of seismogenic feature, the epicentral distance is considered as zero and the distance to the zone of energy release is taken as depth to the zone of energy release i.e., Dz . The angle α is taken as 15° for the thrust type of seismogenic features which are necessarily the low angle reverse faults. In case of normal/strike slip the angle α is taken as 90°.

The relationship given by Wells and Coppersmith (1994) uses the moment magnitude which is approximately equal to surface wave magnitude in the range of 5.0-7.5 (Kanamori, 1983). Therefore, the same magnitudes are used to compute the rupture width. The magnitudes are assigned to the seismic sources based on the past seismicity associated with the individual seismogenic features. The maximum value estimated for horizontal peak ground acceleration (PGA) is 0.16g (Table I). The surface wave magnitude Ms is used for the estimation of PGA values.




Sl. No.

Seismogenic Sources


Closest Dist to zone of energy release

Max. Accl. (g)

1 2 3 4 5 6

Achankovil Shear Tekkadi-Kodaivannalur Fault Periyar Fault Tenmalai Fault Ottapalam Kuttampuzha Fault Valtari Anaimudi Fault /

6.5 6.5 6.5 6.5 6.5 6.5

48 16 33 61 70 73

0.07 0.16 0.10 0.05 0.05 0.05

Kottagudi Kokkal Palani Fault 7 8 9 Cauveri Fault Offshore Fault Vaigai River Fault 7.0 6.5 6.5 166 157 93 0.03 0.02 0.04



The PSHA can also be described as a procedure of four steps:

1. The first step is identification and characterization of earthquake sources in terms of the probability distribution functions. In most cases, uniform probability distributions are assigned to each source zone, implying that earthquakes are equally likely to occur at any point within the source zone. These distributions are then combined with the source geometry to obtain the corresponding probability distribution of source-to-site distance.


2. Next, the seismicity or temporal distribution of earthquake recurrence is characterized. A recurrence relationship, which specifies the average rate at which an earthquake of some size will be exceeded, is used to characterize the seismicity of each source zone.

3. The ground motion produced at the site by earthquakes of any possible size occurring at any possible point in each source zone is then determined with the use of predictive relationships. The uncertainty inherent in the predictive relationship is also considered in a PSHA.

4. Finally, the uncertainties in earthquake location, earthquake size, and ground motion parameter prediction are combined to obtain the probability that the ground motion parameter will be exceeded during a particular time period.

The following sections describe the seismic hazard parameter estimations and then the estimation of strong ground motion based on these seismic hazard parameters.


Seismic hazard Parameters

The seismotectonic modeling of the area is shown in fig 1. In all 22 seismogenic sources were considered. The seismic hazard parameters namely a and b value of the GR relationship were estimated from the seismicity data as reported for the region. The catalogue has been compiled using various sources like IMD, USGS and other published and unpublished work. The earthquake catalogue is reported in Appendix I.

For the estimation of b value the whole area is considered and the b-value was estimated. The magnitude of completeness was estimated to be 3.7 and the a and b value as 4.4 and 0.748 (see fig 2). Based on the activity and the past seismicity the seismogenic sources were divided in three groups for estimation of a values using fixed b value. The first group included Periyar Fault and Ottapalam Kuttampuzha Fault. The second group

included Pambar River Fault, Attur Fault, Amirdi Fault, Main Fault, Mettur East Fault. The third group consists of Bhavali Fault, Tiruppur Fault, Moyar Shear, Bhavani Shear, Salem Attur Shear, Achankovil Shear, Cauveri fault, Kottagudi Kokkal Palani Fault, Valgai River Fault, Rajamatam-Devipattinam Fault, Bhavani Kanumudi Fault, CSCF1, CSCF2 and Tenmalai Fault. Based on the groups, the length of the surface features the a value was distributed on pro-rata basis.

Fig 2 Estimation of a and b value for the region.

5.2 Strong Ground Motion Estimation

After the seismic hazard assessment is complete the strong ground motion at the site due to various seismogenic sources has been estimated using the spectral attenuation

relationship. Since no strong motion data is available from the region, the spectral attenuation relationship based on world wide data has been used. The strong motion estimates are made using empirical formulae worked out by some of the research workers for various tectonic environment. Attenuation relationships are derived by

regression analysis using different distance measures and magnitude measures. Thus different relationships provide different strong ground motion and a judicious dicision to estimate ground motion is therefore required for adoption in any particular situation. The spectral attenuation relationships are generally given for the subduction zones and the shallow crustal earthquakes. Since the spectral attenuation has to be estimated the attenuation relationship given by Abrahamson and Litehiser (1989) could not be used. The attenuation relationship by RaghuKanth and Iyengar (2007) was developed for Southern Indian region using theoretical data set (synthetic) of strong ground motion. Since the model was based on point source assumption lower limits were imposed on the epicentral distances. The magnitude distance pairs in the present study do not allow the use of such relationship. In addition to the relationship given by RaghuKanth and Iyengar (2007) same was the case with Hwang and Huo (1997). The attenuation relationships have been evolved through several iterations as new data have been gathered. The group of K. Sadigh has developed attenuation relationship for shallow crustal earthquakes for California region. The spectral attenuation relationship given by Sadigh et al (1997) has been used in this study. In addition to this, the relationship by Toro et al (1997) which is developed for Central and eastern North American region and Abrahamson and Silva (1997) which is also for shallow crustal earthquakes has been used to reduce epistemic uncertainty.

The probability of exceedance of strong ground motion can be written as

P [Y> y*] =

∫ ∫

P [Y> y*m, r] f Mi(m) f R i(r) dm dr



Where P [Y> y*m, r] is obtained from the predictive relationship and fM(m) and fR(r) are the probability density functions for magnitude and distance, respectively. The

program CRISIS program (Ordaz, 2007) has been used to estimate the spectral accelerations and estimations for the exceedance rate has been proposed for the present site. The seismic hazard is estimated using a probabilistic model that considers the rates of occurrence, attenuation characteristics and geographical distribution of earthquakes. Earthquake occurrence has been modelled as a Poissonian process in the present study. In all 22 sources as given in fig. 1 and the seismicity within these sources has been used along with the seismic hazard parameters as estimated in the previous sections. A dynamic integration procedure is followed for fast computation of hazard in extended areas. The ground motion parameters in terms of spectral acceleration has been estimated for the site for 10 %, 20% and 2% exceedance in 50 years and are shown in fig 3, 4 and 5. While 10% and 20 % exceedance in 50 years are used for design basis earthquake

conditions, the MCE values are considered using 2% exceedance in 50 years.

Fig 3 Spectral accelerations for 225 year return period


Fig 4 Spectral accelerations for 475 year return period

Fig 5 Spectral accelerations for MCE Condition


The seismic hazard assessment has been carried out by both – deterministic as well as probabilistic approach. The safety of the Mullaperiyar dam has to be checked for MCE conditions for the maximum PGA value arrived at the site. Based on deterministic approach the MCE conditions have been estimated 0.16g at the site. While, using probabilistic approach the MCE conditions have been estimated as 0.21g PGA for 2% exceedance in 50 years. Conservatively, the MCE conditions using probabilistic approach are recommended to be used for checking the safety of the dam.


1. The Mullaperiyar dam site lies on the western coast of India in the State of Kerala. It lies in Seismic Zone III as per the seismic zoning map of India where a maximum intensity of VII is expected.

2. As the Mullaperiyar dam is more than 110 years old, constructed in stone masonry in lime surkhi mortar, it is envisaged that this old dam will be vulnerable under a future strong motion earthquake in the region and in the eventuality of dam failure may result in human and economical losses.

3. The seismic hazard assessment has been carried out using deterministic as well as probabilistic approach. The safety of the dam has to be checked for MCE condition.

4. The peak ground acceleration value under MCE condition is recommended to be 0.21 g and the corresponding response spectra is given in Fig. 5.



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Appendix I

Earthquake occurrence around Mullaperiyar Dam site, Kerala with in latitudes 6.25°N and 12.25°N and longitudes 73.5°E and 79.5°E from historic times to 2005

Sl. No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36

Year 1819 1821 1821 1822 1823 1823 1823 1841 1843 1848 1849 1856 1856 1856 1856 1857 1858 1858 1858 1859 1859 1859 1859 1859 1860 1860 1861 1864 1865 1865 1866 1867 1871 1881 1882 1897

Origin Time Month Day Hour Minute 6 20 1 10 10 10 1 29 2 9 3 2 3 9 9 15 6 19 3 1 11 23 3 17 8 11 8 25 9 1 8 16 8 13 8 23 12 30 1 1 1 3 2 5 12 17 12 17 1 17 1 20 3 4 1 5 6 4 6 24 12 19 7 3 9 1 3 16 2 28 9 1

Latitude 12 9.5 9.5 12.5 7 9.5 7 9.5 6.9 6.92 9.5 9.9 8.7 8.7 9.5 7 11.4 11.4 12.4 12.5 12.5 12.5 11.6 12.5 11.9 11.9 11.9 10.8 12.3 11 7 12 6.92 8.48 11.47 11.5

Location Longitude 79.6 76.6 76.6 79.7 80 76.6 80 76.6 79.9 79.87 76.6 78.1 77 77 76 80 76 76 78.4 79 79 78.6 78.1 78.6 78.2 78.2 78.2 78.7 76.62 76.95 80 79.6 79.87 77.7 76.7 76.6

Depth Magnitude 0 4.3 0 3 0 0 0 5 0 5.7 0 4.3 0 5 0 3.7 0 3 0 0 0 3.7 0 3.7 0 3.7 0 4.3 0 4.3 0 3.7 0 3.7 0 3.7 0 4.3 0 3.7 0 4.3 0 3.7 0 3.7 0 3.7 0 3.7 0 3 0 3.7 0 3.7 0 0 0 0 0 3.7 0 5.7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Sl. No 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76

Year 1900 1900 1900 1901 1938 1953 1956 1959 1959 1961 1964 1968 1971 1971 1971 1972 1972 1972 1972 1984 1988 1988 1988 1993 1994 1996 1998 1998 1999 2000 2000 2000 2001 2001 2001 2001 2001 2001 2003 2005

Origin Time Month Day Hour Minute 2 7 2 8 9 9 4 27 9 10 22 23 7 26 12 15 7 27 12 17 9 1 10 1 8 15 1 17 3 6 3 27 4 24 5 16 5 17 7 29 6 27 6 7 3 7 6 7 15 26 6 8 3 4 12 6 20 54 12 2 16 6 3 19 16 32 8 20 12 54 8 25 12 54 9 11 3 9 12 12 1 23 12 12 12 7 12 15 22 54 1 3 22 48 1 7 2 56 1 7 3 27 1 29 2 37 8 25 0 24 10 28 17 23 9 7 5 59 3 22 1 50

Latitude 10.8 10.7 6.92 12 7.7 9.9 6.5 11.5 11.7 11.3 11.3 12 12.4 12.4 12.4 12.4 12.4 12.4 11 11.3 9.81 9.81 9.81 6.8 10.75 9.9 12.2 12.2 10.32 9.69 9.64 9.67 12.06 9.69 9.31 12.44 10.48 7.15 8.31 12.02

Location Longitude 76.8 76.7 79.87 75 79.2 76.3 78 75.3 78.1 75.8 75.8 79 77 77 77 77 77 77 77 75.8 77.21 77.21 77.21 78.3 76.25 76.8 78.1 78.1 75.64 76.79 76.87 76.74 78.18 76.8 76.62 77.36 76.12 76.32 79.09 78.52

Depth Magnitude 0 6 70 6 0 0 0 5 0 6 0 5 0 0 0 4 0 4.3 0 4 0 4.3 0 3.7 0 4.2 0 4.2 0 4.3 0 0 0 4.6 0 4.5 0 5 0 0 50 4.5 50 4.2 50 3.5 10 5.4 15 3.8 33 4.1 0 3.5 0 3.5 15 3.8 14 5 4 3.6 10 3.9 10 3.4 16 4.8 15 3.4 15 4.3 15 3.1 33 4.4 33 3.9 4 3.8