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Earthquake damage assessment for deterministic scenarios in Iquique, Chile


Risk evaluation and loss analysis is key in foreseeing the impact of disasters caused by natural hazards and may contribute effectively in improving resilience in a community through the pre-evaluation of preparedness and mitigation actions. The pilot study presented herein is for the Chilean city of Iquique, which is located at the core of a seismic gap that extends from south Perú to north Chile, and has strategic geopolitical and economic importance for the country. The region was hit April 1, 2014, by an \(M_\mathrm{w}\) 8.2 earthquake that caused only moderate damage, but seismological evidence suggests that there is still a potential for a much larger event in the region. Therefore, a careful damage assessment study is fundamental to anticipate the possible physical, social, and economic consequences that Iquique may face in the future. In this work, the HAZUS-MH platform was adapted and used to simulate a set of ten plausible physics-based future seismic scenarios with magnitudes ranging from \(M_\mathrm{w}\) 8.40 to \(M_\mathrm{w}\) 8.98, which were proposed based on an analysis of interplate locking and the residual slip potential remaining after the April 1, 2014, earthquake. Successful application of this damage assessment methodology relies on the construction of a comprehensive exposure model that takes into account regional features and a good characterization of the physical vulnerabilities. For Iquique, a large body of public and local data was used to develop a detailed inventory of physical and social assets including an aggregated building count, demographics, and essential facilities. To characterize the response of the built environment to seismic demand, appropriate HAZUS fragility curves were applied, and outcomes were validated against the damage observed in the 2014 earthquake. After satisfactory testing, a deterministic earthquake damage assessment study was carried out for the collection of predictive scenarios aimed to estimate their expected impacts. This analysis provides data for future evaluations of different physical and social mitigation measures for the city.

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This work has been sponsored by the Research Center for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (CIGIDEN), CONICYT/FONDAP 15110017, and FONDECYT Grant 1170836.

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Correspondence to Paula Aguirre.

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Aguirre, P., Vásquez, J., de la Llera, J.C. et al. Earthquake damage assessment for deterministic scenarios in Iquique, Chile. Nat Hazards 92, 1433–1461 (2018).

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