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Development of a Framework for Probabilistic Seismic
Hazard Maps for Pakistan

Scott Olson and Youssef Hashash, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Irshad Ahmad and Akhtar Naeem Khan, NWFP University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar
Pakistani Funding (HEC):  $130,000
US Funding (USAID):    $174,705
Project Dates on US Side: February 1, 2007 -
October 31, 2011

Project Overview

Given Pakistan’s seismo-tectonic setting, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake is not a one-time event, but part of a sequence of earthquakes that have happened in the past and will happen again in the future. More importantly, the earthquake highlighted the severe limitations of existing seismic hazard characterization in Pakistan. Several efforts by the Pakistan Meteorological Department and collaborations with the U.S. Geologic Survey as well as groups in Japan and Norway are under way to better define seismicity in Pakistan through various mapping, instrumentation, and data collection activities. These groups will use the collected data to generate region-specific attenuation relationships and ground motion estimates. However, an important gap remained in these efforts at the interface between seismology and earthquake engineering. That is, a need existed to develop appropriate factors to account for local soil response and topographic effects. These “site response” factors are a common component in design codes worldwide to translate ground motions developed by seismic hazard mapping efforts for use by design engineers. Perhaps more importantly, there is a need to train current and future Pakistani engineers to use the seismic hazard mapping tools and products that others are producing. This project focused on building Pakistani capacity in the area of seismic hazard characterization for engineering applications and for developing loss scenarios and emergency response plans.

Major Results

  • Developed two methods to estimate the characteristics rates of faults in northwestern Pakistan
  • Engaged a PhD student to work on seismic hazard analysis and study seismic slope stability analysis
  • Conducted a workshop on seismic hazard analysis that attracted 50 participants from universities, government agencies, and private engineering firms across Pakistan
  • Delivered a graduate seismic hazard course at NWFP UET, including projects allowing students to apply deterministic and probabilistic analyses to specific assigned sites
  • Generated a peak ground acceleration (PGA) contour map for the 2005 Kashmir earthquake using deterministic seismic hazard analysis and compared that with previously created PGA maps to verify the procedures used

Quarterly Update

The project received a no-cost extension through October 31, 2011. During the last few months, this research team continued working on generating hazard maps for northwestern Pakistan, preparing the final report, and submitting journal papers regarding seismic hazard analysis.

Progress Report Summaries

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UIUC NWFP UET Seismic Hazard Mapping Earthquake Devastation

A view of the devastation left after the October 2005 earthquake.

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