Seismic hazard and probability assessment of Kashmir valley, northwest Himalaya, India

by Rakesh Chandra, Javid Ahmad Dar, Shakil Ahmad Romshoo, Irfan Rashid, Imtiyaz A. Parvez, Sareer Ahmad Mir and Midhat Fayaz

Seismic hazard analysis of the northwest Himalayan belt was carried out by using extreme value theory (EVT). The rate of seismicity (a value) and recurrence intervals with the given earthquake magnitude (b value) was calculated from the observed data using Gutenberg–Richter Law. The statistical evaluation of 12,125 events from 1902 to 2017 shows the increasing trend in their inter-arrival times. The frequency–magnitude relation exhibits a linear downslope trend with negative slope of 0.8277 and positive intercept of 4.6977. The empirical results showed that the annual risk probability of high magnitude earthquake M ≥ 7.7 in 50 years is 88% with recurrence period of 47 years, probability of M ≤ 7.5 in 50 years is 97% with recurrence period of 27 years, and probability of M ≤ 6.5 in 50 years is 100% with recurrence period of 4 years. Kashmir valley, located in the NW Himalaya, encompasses a peculiar tectonic and structural setup. The patterns of the present and historical seismicity records of the valley suggest a long-term strain accumulation along NNW and SSE extensions with the decline in the seismic gap, posing a potential threat of earthquakes in the future. The Kashmir valley is characterized by the typical lithological, tectono-geomorphic, geotechnical, hydrogeological and socioeconomic settings that augment the earthquake vulnerability associated with the seismicity of the region. The cumulative impact of the various influencing parameters therefore exacerbates the seismic hazard risk of the valley to future earthquake events.


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