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Seismic Empirical Relations for the Tellian Atlas, North Africa, and their Usefulness for Seismic Risk Assessment

Abstract : Seismic events that occurred during the past half century in the Tellian Atlas, North Africa, are used to establish fundamental seismic empirical relations, tying earthquake magnitude to source parameters (seismic moment, fault plane area, maximal displacement along the fault, and fault plane length). Those empirical relations applied to the overall seismicity from 1716 to present are used to transform the magnitude (or intensity) versus time distribution into (1) cumulative seismic moment versus time, and (2) cumulative displacements versus time. Both of those parameters as well as the computed seismic moment rate, the strain rate along the Tellian Atlas strike, and various other geological observations are consistent with the existence, in the Tellian Atlas, of three distinct active tectonic blocks. These blocks are seismically decoupled from each other, thus allowing consideration of the seismicity as occurring in three different distinct seismotectonic blocks. The cumulative displacement versus time from 1900 to present for each of these tectonic blocks presents a remarkable pattern of recurrence time intervals and precursors associated with major earthquakes. Indeed, most major earthquakes that occurred in these three blocks might have been predicted in time. The Tellian Atlas historical seismicity from the year 881 to the present more substantially confirms these observations, in particular for the western block of the Tellian Atlas. Theoretical determination of recurrence time intervals for the Tellian Atlas large earthquakes using Molnar and Kostrov formalisms is also consistent with these observations. Substantial observations support the fact that the western and central Tellian Atlas are currently at very high seismic risk, in particular the central part. Indeed, most of the accumulated seismic energy in the central Tellian Atlas crust has yet to be released, despite the occurrence of the recent destructive May 2003 Boumerdes earthquake (M w = 6.8). The accumulated seismic energy is equivalent to a magnitude 7.6 earthquake. In situ stress and geodetic measurements, as well as other geophysical field data measurements, are now required to practically check the validity of those observations.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 3:06:24 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 3:54:29 PM

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Noureddine Beghoul, Jean-Luc Chatelain, Mohamed-Salah Boughacha, Hadj Benhallou, Rida Dadou, et al.. Seismic Empirical Relations for the Tellian Atlas, North Africa, and their Usefulness for Seismic Risk Assessment. Pure and Applied Geophysics, Springer Verlag, 2010, 167 (3), pp.277-321. ⟨10.1007/s00024-009-0018-z⟩. ⟨insu-00498457⟩