Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 168, Issue 3–4, pp 731–738 | Cite as

Seismic Hazard and Risk Assessments for Beijing–Tianjin–Tangshan, China, Area

  • Furen Xie
  • Zhenming Wang
  • Jingwei Liu


Seismic hazard and risk in the Beijing–Tianjin–Tangshan, China, area were estimated from 500-year intensity observations. First, we digitized the intensity observations (maps) using ArcGIS with a cell size of 0.1 × 0.1°. Second, we performed a statistical analysis on the digitized intensity data, determined an average b value (0.39), and derived the intensity–frequency relationship (hazard curve) for each cell. Finally, based on a Poisson model for earthquake occurrence, we calculated seismic risk in terms of a probability of I ≥ 7, 8, or 9 in 50 years. We also calculated the corresponding 10 percent probability of exceedance of these intensities in 50 years. The advantages of assessing seismic hazard and risk from intensity records are that (1) fewer assumptions (i.e., earthquake source and ground motion attenuation) are made, and (2) site-effect is included. Our study shows that the area has high seismic hazard and risk. Our study also suggests that current design peak ground acceleration or intensity for the area may not be adequate.


Seismic hazard seismic risk seismic hazard analysis hazard curve 



We thank Yanju Peng and Jinshi Hao for their help in ArcGIS digitization, and Yan Zhao, Xiaoliang Zhang, and Jiyang Ye for their assistance in data analyses. We thank Meg Smath of the Kentucky Geological Survey for editorial help. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions that improved this manuscript greatly.


  1. Bozkurt, S. B., Stein, R. S., and Toda, S. (2007), Forecasting probabilistic seismic shaking for greater Tokyo from 400 years of intensity observations, Earthq. Spectra 23, 525–546.Google Scholar
  2. China Earthquake Administration (CEA), (1999a), Historical strong earthquake catalog. of China (2300 B.C. –1911 A.C.) (Earthquake Publishing House, Beijing).Google Scholar
  3. China Earthquake Administration (CEA), (1999b), Recent earthquake catalog of China. (1912 –1990, M S  4.7) (Chinese Science and Technology Press, Beijing).Google Scholar
  4. Cornell, C. A. (1968), Engineering seismic risk analysis, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am. 58, 1583–1606.Google Scholar
  5. Ding, Z., Romanelli, F., Chen, Y. T. and Panza, G. F. (2004), Realistic modeling of seismic wave ground motion in Beijing City, Pure Appl. Geophys. 161, 1–14.Google Scholar
  6. Gupta, R. S. (1989), Hydrology and hydraulic systems (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice Hall, p. 739).Google Scholar
  7. Huang, W., Li, W. and Cao, X. (1994), Study of the completeness of the continental earthquake catalog of China: an example for the North China, Seismology 16, 273–280.Google Scholar
  8. Krinitzsky, E. L. (2002), How to obtain earthquake ground motions for engineering design, Eng. Geol. 65, 1–16.Google Scholar
  9. Liu, J., Song, H., Wu, Y. and Liu, G. (1997), Tangshan earthquake fault kinemics and recurrence interval, Seismology 19, 566–573.Google Scholar
  10. McGuire, R. K. (2004), Seismic hazard and risk analysis (Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, MNO-10, p. 240).Google Scholar
  11. Milne, W. G. and Davenport, A. G. (1969) Distribution of earthquake risk in Canada, Bull. Seismo. Soc. Am. 59, 729–754.Google Scholar
  12. Pan, B., Xu, J., Haruko, S. and He, H. (2006), Simulation of the near- fault strong ground motion in Beijing Region, Seismol. Geol. 28, 623–634 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  13. People’s Republic of China National Standard (PRCNS) (2001), Seismic ground motion parameter zonation map of China (GB 18306–2001, China Standard Press).Google Scholar
  14. Qiu, Y., Deng, Q. and Yang, X. (1997), The 1679 Sanhe-Pinggu earthquake fault and recurrence interval, Seismol. Geol. 19, 193–201.Google Scholar
  15. Reiter, L. Earthquake hazard analysis (Columbia University Press, New York 1990) p. 254.Google Scholar
  16. Sachs, P. Wind forces in engineering (2nd ed.) (Pergamon Press Inc., Elmsford, N.Y. 1978) p. 400Google Scholar
  17. Stepp, J. C., Wong, I., Whitney, J., Quittmeyer, R., Abrahamson, N., Toro, G., Youngs, R., Coppersmith, K., Savy, J., Sullivan, T. and Yucca Mountain PSHA project members, (2001) Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis for ground motions and fault displacements at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, Earthq. Spectra 17, 113–151.Google Scholar
  18. Wang, T. (1984), Recurrence interval of the Tangshan earthquake, Seismol. Geol. 6, 77–83.Google Scholar
  19. Wang, Z. (2005), Comment on J. U. Klügel’s: Problems in the Application of the SSHAC Probability Method for Assessing Earthquake Hazards at Swiss Nuclear Power Plants. In: Engineering Geology, vol. 78, pp. 285–307, Eng. Geol. 82, 86–88.Google Scholar
  20. Wang, Z. (2006), Understanding seismic hazard and risk assessments: An example in the New Madrid Seismic Zone of the central United States. In: Proceedings of the 8th National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, April 18–22, 2006 (San Francisco, Calif., paper 416).Google Scholar
  21. Wang, Z. (2007), Seismic hazard and risk assessment in the intraplate environment: The New Madrid Seismic Zone of the central United States. In: Continental intraplate earthquakes: Science, hazard, and policy issues (eds. Stein, S. and Mazzotti, S.) (Geological Society of America Special Paper 425), p. 363–373.Google Scholar
  22. Wang, Z. (2009a), Seismic hazard vs. seismic risk, Seism. Res. Lett. 80, 673–674.Google Scholar
  23. Wang, Z. (2009b), Comment on “Sigma: Issues, Insights, and Challenges” by Fleur O. Strasser, Norman A. Abrahamson, and Julian J. Bommer, Seism. Res. Lett. 80, 491–493.Google Scholar
  24. Wang, S. and Wu, H. (1993), Attenuation relationship of earthquake intensity in North China. In: China Earthquake Administration, Collections of earthquake zonation (Earthquake Publishing House, Beijing) pp. 185–191.Google Scholar
  25. Wang, Z. and Zhou, M. (2007), Comment on “Why Do Modern Probabilistic Seismic-Hazard Analyses Often Lead to Increased Hazard Estimates?” by Julian J. Bommer and Norman A. Abrahamson, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. 97, 2212–2214.Google Scholar
  26. Xiang, H., Fang, Z. and Xu, J. (1988), Tectonic background and recurrence interval of the Sanhe-Pinggu earthquake, Seismol. Geol. 10, 15–28.Google Scholar
  27. Xie, F., Wang, Z. Du, Y. and Zhang, X. (2009), Preliminary observations of the faulting and damage pattern of M8.0 Wenchuan, China, earthquake, The Prof. Geol. 46 (4): 3–6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser / Springer Basel AG 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Crustal DynamicsChina Earthquake AdministrationBeijingChina
  2. 2.Kentucky Geological SurveyLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.Institute of GeologyChina Earthquake AdministrationBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations