Significant Seismic Risk Potential From Buried Faults Beneath Almaty City, Kazakhstan, Revealed From High‐Resolution Satellite DEMs

Amey, Ruth M. J.; Elliott, John R.; Hussain, Ekbal; Walker, Richard; Pagani, Marco; Silva, Vitor; Abdrakhmatov, Kanatbek E.; Watson, C. Scott. 2021 Significant Seismic Risk Potential From Buried Faults Beneath Almaty City, Kazakhstan, Revealed From High‐Resolution Satellite DEMs. Earth and Space Science, 8 (9), e2021EA001664.

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Major faults of the Tien Shan, Central Asia, have long repeat times, but fail in large (urn:x-wiley:23335084:media:ess2922:ess2922-math-0001 7+) earthquakes. In addition, there may be smaller, buried faults off the major faults which are not properly characterized or even recognized as active. These all pose hazard to cities along the mountain range front such as Almaty, Kazakhstan. Here, we explore the seismic hazard and risk for Almaty from specific earthquake scenarios. We run three historical-based earthquake scenarios (1887 Verny urn:x-wiley:23335084:media:ess2922:ess2922-math-0002 7.3, 1889 Chilik urn:x-wiley:23335084:media:ess2922:ess2922-math-0003 8.0 and 1911 Chon-Kemin urn:x-wiley:23335084:media:ess2922:ess2922-math-0004 8.0) on the current population and four hypothetical scenarios for near-field faulting. By making high-resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) from SPOT and Pleiades stereo optical satellite imagery, we identify fault splays near and under Almaty. We assess the feasibility of using DEMs to estimate city building heights, aiming to better constrain future exposure datasets. Both Pleiades and SPOT-derived DEMs find accurate building heights of the majority of sampled buildings within error; Pleiades tri-stereo estimates 80% of 15 building heights within one sigma and has the smallest average percentage difference to field-measured heights (14%). A moderately sized urn:x-wiley:23335084:media:ess2922:ess2922-math-0005 6.5 earthquake rupture occurring on a blind thrust fault, under folding north of Almaty is the most damaging scenario explored here due to the modeled fault stretching under Almaty, with estimated 12,300urn:x-wiley:23335084:media:ess2922:ess2922-math-00065,000 completely damaged buildings, 4,100 urn:x-wiley:23335084:media:ess2922:ess2922-math-0007 3,500 fatalities and an economic cost of 4,700 urn:x-wiley:23335084:media:ess2922:ess2922-math-0008 2,700 Million US dollars (one sigma uncertainty). This highlights the importance of characterizing location, extent, geometry, and activity of small faults beneath cities.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 2333-5084
Date made live: 12 Nov 2021 12:53 +0 (UTC)

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