Natural Hazards

, Volume 72, Issue 3, pp 1329–1339 | Cite as

Occurrence and impact of characteristic earthquakes in northern Algeria

  • Youcef Bouhadad


Earthquakes constitute the natural hazard that is one of the main natural threats to the northern part of Algeria because of its geographical setting at the Eurasia–Africa plate boundary. Several active multi-segment reverse faults have been identified near urban areas that may rupture during characteristic earthquakes and produce earthquakes of magnitudes ≥7.0. Characteristic earthquakes are extreme seismic events characterized by long return periods, which can have great societal impact. Earthquakes in northern Algeria are destructive for two main reasons: firstly, the shallow character of the faults and secondly, the vulnerability of the building stock built essentially prior to the implementation of seismic design codes that take into account the level of the seismic hazard. That is why even moderate earthquakes are disastrous in this area.


Characteristic earthquake Active faults Damage Disaster Algeria 



The author is grateful to three anonymous reviewers and to the editor prof. H. P. Plag for the critical comments that allowed improving the manuscript. I thank also Prof. Benouar from University of Algiers (USTHB) for his valuable suggestions. This work is supported by the Centre National de Recherché Appliquée en Génie Parasismique (CGS) and DGRSDT (PNR programme 20102012).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre National de Recherche Appliquée en Génie Parasismique (CGS)AlgiersAlgeria

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