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The comparison of the NDSHA, PSHA seismic hazard maps and real seismicity for the Italian territory

One is well advised, when traveling to a new territory, to take a good map and then to check the map with the actual territory during the journey (Wasserburg 2010).


Rigorous and objective testing of seismic hazard assessments against the real seismic activity must become the necessary precondition for any responsible seismic risk estimation. Because seismic hazard maps seek to predict the shaking that would actually occur, the reference hazard maps for the Italian seismic code, obtained by probabilistic seismic hazard assessment (PSHA), and the alternative ground shaking maps based on the neo-deterministic approach (NDSHA), are cross-compared and tested against the real seismicity for the territory of Italy. The comparison between predicted intensities and those reported for past earthquakes shows that models generally provide rather conservative estimates, except for PGA with 10 % probability of being exceeded in 50 years, which underestimates the largest earthquakes. In terms of efficiency in predicting ground shaking, measured accounting for the rate of underestimated events and for the territorial extent of areas characterized by high seismic hazard, the NDSHA maps appear to outscore the PSHA ones.

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We are grateful to Giuliano Panza for his active and critical contribution in this work. We acknowledge Dario Albarello and an anonymous reviewer for suggestions that significantly contributed clarifying the text of the manuscript. This paper was completed during the visit of A.K. Nekrasova at the Structure and Nonlinear Dynamics of the Earth (SAND) Group of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Miramare, Trieste, Italy.

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Correspondence to A. Nekrasova.

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Nekrasova, A., Kossobokov, V., Peresan, A. et al. The comparison of the NDSHA, PSHA seismic hazard maps and real seismicity for the Italian territory. Nat Hazards 70, 629–641 (2014).

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  • Earthquake catalogs
  • Probabilistic seismic hazard assessment
  • Neo-deterministic seismic hazard assessment
  • Seismic hazard maps
  • Peak ground acceleration