Friday, April 25, 2008

More needed to accurately assess Arizona earthquake hazards

The USGS has updated the National Seismic Hazard Maps but questions remain as to whether they accurately reflect the seismic hazards for Arizona.

The assessments consider recurrence intervals on faults but rely on results from seismic networks across the country. Since we have not had sizable quakes in Arizona since seismometers were invented and deployed, are we confident that the recurrence intervals are realistic?

A number of efforts are underway to get a better handle on seismic hazards in Arizona. AZGS is working with seismologists at UA, ASU, and NAU to permanently keep some of the seismometers temporarily deployed in Arizona for the EarthScope USArray. We also will be meeting with the USGS to discuss setting up a cooperative working group similar to those in Utah and Nevada that have been very successful. AZGS is also partnering with the Utah Geological Survey to seek federal NEHRP funds to conduct paleo-seismology studies in NW Arizona.

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