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Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 42 (2011) 468–478

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Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis of Islamabad, Pakistan

Abdul Qadir Bhatti a,⇑, Syed Zamir Ul Hassan b, Zahid Rafi c, Zubeda Khatoon d, Qurban Ali d
Department of Earthquake Engineering, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), H-12, Islamabad, Pakistan
National Institute of Transportation, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan
Pakistan Meteorological Department, Islamabad, Pakistan
Department of Physics, Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur, Pakistan

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Pakistan is prone to seismic activity, and its capital, Islamabad, is located close to the Main Boundary
Received 11 July 2010 Thrust (MBT) fault. On October 8th, 2005 the disastrous Muzaffarabad earthquake shook Islamabad
Received in revised form 15 March 2011 and damaged many high-rise buildings. A probabilistic seismic hazard analysis technique was used to
Accepted 14 May 2011
estimate strong ground motion parameters for a closely spaced 1 km grid. Traditionally, PGA is calcu-
Available online 16 June 2011
lated, which is then used in structural earthquake resistant design or seismic safety assessment. How-
ever, Peak Ground Acceleration (PGA) is not sufficient to design for seismic load or to account for the
modern building code’s emphasis on the use of spectral acceleration values. Therefore, a seismic hazard
Seismic hazard analysis
analysis was performed for Islamabad, and the design parameters that are required by codes to account
Short and one second spectral acceleration for seismic loading were derived.
Main Boundary Thrust (MBT) Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction 2. Tectonic of the surrounding region

Pakistan is located in one of the most seismically active regions of The earth’s crust is divided into 15 major tectonic plates, includ-
the world. The devastating Quetta earthquake of magnitude 7.4 in ing the African Plate, the Antarctic Plate, the North American Plate,
1935, the Makran coast earthquake of magnitude 8.0 in 1945, the the South American Plate, the Australian Plate, the Pacific Plate, the
Pattan earthquake of magnitude 6.0 in 1974 and the recent Muzaff- Philippine Plate, the Jaun de Fuca Plate, the Scotia Plate, the Nazca
arabad earthquake of magnitude 7.5 in 2005 are all evidence of ac- Plate, the Arabian Plate, the Caribbean Plate, the Cocos Plate, the
tive seismicity in Pakistan. The recent Muzaffarabad earthquake Eurasian plate and the Indian plate. Fig. 1 shows that most earth-
raised awareness about the dangers of earthquakes, and a number quakes are concentrated near the plate boundaries and that earth-
of steps are being taken at a national level to combat these hazards. quake epicenters within the plate are scarce. This theory is also
These include expanding the seismic network of the country, incor- known as elastic rebound theory and successfully explains the for-
porating the latest seismic provisions in the Building Code of Paki- mation of large geological features, mountain ranges and faults
stan (BCP) and conducting a seismic hazard analysis of various resulting from plate movement. Pakistan is located on north-west
structures and cities, which is currently underway. Most researchers region of the Indian plate that pushes into the Eurasian plate. The
have concluded their seismic hazard analyses by reporting the PGA boundary of these two plates is a convergent boundary where the
value of Islamabad. This value will be very useful once the analysis lithosphere is thickened and sinking into the mantle. The Indian
of structures becomes based on BCP or UBC 97 (Uniform Building subcontinent has been colliding with the Eurasian subcontinent
Code). However, the analysis of a structure based on International over the last 30–40 million years (Aitchison et al., 2007). During
Building Code (IBC) 2003 or IBC 2006 is not possible using PGA alone; this period, the continental lithosphere, which was longer than
instead, spectral acceleration values are required for a return period 2000 km, shortened into massive mountain ranges, which explains
of 2500 years. Such values have not yet been reported for Islamabad the formation of mountain ranges in northern Pakistan (GSB,
or any other city. In this study, we perform a seismic hazard analysis 1988). Some of the important mountain structures resulting from
of Islamabad and the surrounding areas and suggest spectral accel- the collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates include the Himala-
eration values in line with ASCE 7-05 (American Society for Civil yas in the central area, the Arakan-Yoma mountains of Burma, the
Engineers) and IBC 2006 (International Building Code of 2006). Naga hills of Asam towards the east, the Kirthar and Suleman
ranges in Balochistan, the Tien-Shan mountains in Central Asia,
the Karakoram Mountains, the Pamir ranges and the Hindukush
⇑ Corresponding author. Tel.: +92 51 90854615; fax: +92 243 720066. Mountains (NORSAR and PMD, 2006).
E-mail addresses:, (A.Q. Bhatti).

1367-9120/$ - see front matter Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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A.Q. Bhatti et al. / Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 42 (2011) 468–478 469

Fig. 1. Faults map of Islamabad and surrounding.

The movement between portions of the earth’s crust occurs at 3. Seismic hazard analysis
new or pre-existing discontinuities in the geological structures of
bedrock, which are known as faults and are associated with the rel- There are two approaches for the seismic hazard analysis of an
ative displacement of two large blocks of rock mass. Faults can be area that are briefly mentioned below. In a Deterministic Seismic
as short as a few hundred meters or as long as a few kilometers. It Hazard Analysis (DSHA), faults and other tectonic features in the
is a geological anomaly that faults are caused by earthquakes or vicinity of a site are identified. A suitable attenuation equation is
that earthquakes are caused by faults. Large magnitude earth- used to determine the ground motion at the site.
quakes are related to the larger rupture length of a fault. Fig. 1 Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) is the most widely
shows some of the faults located in the study area. These include used technique for the seismic hazard assessment of an area. In a
the Main Mantle Thrust (MMT) in the north, which extends in PSHA, the seismic activity of the source is specified by the recur-
the east–west direction, the Main Boundry Thrust (MBT), which rence relationship defining the cumulative number of events-per-
runs parallel to the MMT, the Pattan Fault, the Panjal Fault, the year versus their magnitude (Mona Lisa, 2005). Some of its
Margalla Fault, the Jhelum Fault and the Salt Range Fault. important aspects include historical seismicity, the identification
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of earthquake source geometry, the establishment of recurrence 3.2. Seismic source zones
law, ground motion parameters, a temporal model and the local
site conditions. To determine the hazard in Islamabad, we studied an area of
The Building Code of Pakistan, UBC 97 and IBC 2006, each de- approximately 100–150 km around the city. Earthquakes beyond
fines the design for structures under ground motion in terms of a this area were not considered because it is believed that distant
certain percentage probability of exceedance over a given period earthquakes have only an insignificant value to this study. The
of time. Therefore, PSHA is used in this study. The procedure used earthquake catalogue for the study area was plotted using Arc
is explained in the following paragraphs. GIS Version 9.0, which is a widely used geographical information
system program. Earthquake sources can be modeled as point
source, line source or area source; volcanoes are point sources.
3.1. Earthquake catalogue
Faults are line sources and were not considered due to the uncer-
tainty in plotting the epicenters of different earthquakes and
In Pakistan, a number of agencies record earthquakes, including
assigning these to a particular fault. Therefore, only area source
the Micro Seismic Zonation Program (MSSP) of Kahuta Research
zones were considered, and line sources were not modeled. The
Laboratories (KRL), the seismological division of WAPDA and the
area was divided into seven zones as shown in Fig. 2. The division
Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD). The PMD network is
of the study area into these zones was based on seismicity and the
the largest in the country. At present, it operates a network of 20
fault system. The basic principle followed was that seismicity
stations in Pakistan, and another 10 stations are in the installation
within a single source remains uniform and homogenous. The se-
phase. Moreover, it also receives teleseismic data from 60 stations
ven seismic source zones all have the geometric shape of a polygon
around the world, including the US, Japan, Europe and Africa.
and the coordinates of their corners are listed below. The zones are
In this study, we used a PMD catalogue that included historical
numbered from 1 to 7 arbitrarily.
events from 25 AD until 1905 and instrumental recordings from
1906 until 2009. Table 1 shows some historical earthquakes
3.2.1. Zone 1
around the area of study. The catalogue contained different types
Zone 1 covers most of Islamabad and a large portion of the
of magnitudes of the earthquakes, including local magnitude ML,
Rawalpindi districts. The twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi
moment magnitude Mw, and body wave magnitude Mb. Uniform
are included in this region. The coordinates of corners of the zone
magnitude was required to complete the calculations using the
are as follows: (33.736N, 73.029E), (33.049N, 73.210E), (33.155N,
SEISAN software. The following formulas were used to convert
73.740E), (33.740N, 73.523E) and (34.022N, 73.198E).
the magnitudes reported in the catalogue to Mw:
The locations of various faults in each zone are shown in Fig. 1.
Scordilis (2006) The Margalla Fault, which is 0.37 km long, runs from NE to SW in
upper portion of this zone, whereas the Jhelum Fault, which is
M w ¼ 0:85M b þ 1:03ð3:0 6 Mb 6 6:1Þ 2.3 km long, runs from north to south. A total of 25 earthquakes
Idriss (1985) were reported in PMD catalogue, out of which 10 has a magnitude
(Mw) greater than 4.5. The maximum recorded earthquake was 5.1
Mw ¼ ML ðM L 6 5:7Þ in 1966; this magnitude occurred again in November 2007. Almost
all of the earthquakes recorded were shallow, with a focal depth
Kaviris et al. (2008)
ranging from 20 to 40 km.
M w ¼ M D þ 0:5 ðM D < 3:0Þ
3.2.2. Zone 2
Kaviris et al. (2008) Zone 2 covers the western portions of the Islamabad and
Rawalpindi districts. The coordinates of the zone are as follows:
M w ¼ M D þ 0:6 ðM D P 3:0Þ
(33.584N, 72.661E), (33.736N, 73.029E), (33.049N, 73.210E) and
(33.029N, 72.704E). No significant faults are located in this zone.
Table 1 Only six events were reported in the PMD catalogue, all of which
Historical seismicity around Islamabad, Pakistan. had a magnitude less than 4.0. The maximum recorded earthquake
Date Lat °N Long °E Intensity Remarks had a magnitude 3.9 on 28 April 1999.
1/1 /0025 33.7 72.9 X Taxila EQ
3/1/1519 34.8 71.8 VI–VII Jandol Valley EQ 3.2.3. Zone 3
4/6/1669 33.4 73.2 VI–XI Mandra EQ This zone mainly covers the district of Haripur and some por-
23/6/1669 33.87 72.25 VII–IX Attock EQ tions of the Abbotabad, Islamabad and Attock districts. The coordi-
6/6/1828 34.1 74.8 X Kashmir EQ
nates are as follows: (33.689N, 72.613E), (33.584N, 72.661E),
1/1/1831 31.75 70.35 VII–IX Darban EQ
1/1/1831 33.5 72 IV–VI Hindukush EQ
(33.736N, 73.029 E), (34.022N, 73.198E), (34.148N, 72.893E) and
17/1/1851 32 74 VI–VIII Punjab Plain EQ (34.251N, 72.642E). The southern end of the Tarbella fault, which
24/1/1852 34 73.5 VIII Murree Hills EQ is 0.354 km long, and a central portion of the MBT, which is
10/7/1863 34.08 74.82 VI–VII Srinagar EQ 0.59 km long, are located in this zone. A total of 22 earthquakes
22/1/1865 34 71.55 V–VII Peshawar
were reported in the PMD catalogue, of which, 10 had magnitude
10/11/1868 32.5 71.3 VIII Bannu EQ
11/8/1868 34 71.6 VII–VIII Peshawar EQ greater than 4.5. The maximum recorded earthquake was 5.1 on
24/3/1869 32.92 73.72 V–VII Jhelum EQ 27 September 1972. Almost all of the earthquakes recorded were
1/4/1869 34 71.55 VII–VIII Peshawar EQ shallow, with a focal depth ranging from 15 to 45 km.
20/12/1869 33.6 73.1 VII–VIII Rawalpindi EQ
12/12/1875 34 71.55 VII–VIII Lahore–Peshawar EQ
2/5/1878 33.58 71.4 VII–VIII Kohat–Peshawar EQ
3.2.4. Zone 4
1/4/1883 34 71.55 VI–VII Peshawar EQ This zone covers the southwestern portion of the Mansehra dis-
15/1/1885 34.08 74.82 VI–VII Srinagar EQ trict and a part of Buner. Its coordinates are as follows: (34.579N,
30/5/1885 34.1 74.8 IX–X Kashmir EQ 72.602E) (34.251N, 72.642E) (34.148N, 72.893E) and (34.507N,
6/6/1885 34.2 75 IX–X Kashmir EQ
72.926E). No important faults are located in this zone. Only six
25/11/1893 34 71.55 VI–VII Peshawar–Nowshera EQ
events were reported in the PMD catalogue, of which, two were
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Fig. 2. Seismic zones under the study area.

of a magnitude greater than 4.5. The maximum recorded earth- 131 had a magnitude greater than 4.5. The maximum recorded
quake was 4.9 on 27 October 2005. earthquake was 6.0 on 8 October 2005. More than 90% of the earth-
quakes in this region were shallow, with a focal depth less than
3.2.5. Zone 5 40 km. This is the most seismically active region surrounding
This zone includes the Batgram district and the north eastern Islamabad.
portion of the Mansehra district. Its coordinates are (35.019N,
72.870E), (34.507N, 72.926E), (34.418N, 73.398E), (34.702N, 3.2.6. Zone 6
73.641E) and (35.021N, 73.452E). A number of thrust faults are lo- This zone covers most of the Abbotabad district, the western
cated within this zone. The MMT, which is 0.632 km long, is portion of the Bagh district, the northern portion of the Rawalpindi
located in the north; the MBT, which is 0.33 km long, and the Pan- district and the southern portion of the Mansehra district. Its coor-
jal thrust, which is 0.59 km long, are located in the south. A syntax dinates are as follows: (34.148N, 72.893E), (34.022N, 73.198E),
is formed by crossing of the faults, which is referred to as the Haz- (33.740N, 73.523E), (33.974N, 73.798E), (34.354N, 73.365E),
ara syntax, is a weak area for the release of stored energy. A total of (34.418N, 73.398E) and (34.507N, 72.926E). Three important faults
627 earthquakes were reported in the PMD catalogue, of which, are present in this zone, including the Jhelum Fault, which is
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Fig. 3. Seismicity of Zone-1.

0.63 km long and runs from north to south, whereas the Tarbella
fault, which is 0.42 km long, and the MBT, which is 0.33 km long,
run parallel to each other from NE to SW. A total of 66 earthquakes Fig. 5. Seismicity of Zone-3.
were reported in the PMD catalogue, of which, none had a magni-
tude greater than 4.5. But, 14 events had a magnitude greater than recorded earthquake was 7.5 on 8 October 2005. This earthquake
4.0. The maximum recorded earthquake was 4.4 on 19 September was reported to be 7.6 by the USGS. It had a very shallow depth
1986. More than 90% of the earthquakes in this region were shal- of 7.9 km. The event is considered to be most disastrous in the his-
low, with a focal depth less than 40 km. This area is seismically ac- tory of Pakistan. Like all of the other zones, most of the earth-
tive, but its potential appears to be low earthquakes. quakes in this region were shallow, with a focal depth less than
40 km. This area is seismically active and has the potential for large
3.2.7. Zone 7
This zone mainly contains the Muzaffarabad district and some
portions of the Neelum district and occupied Kashmir. Its coordi- 3.3. Evaluation of seismicity
nates are as follows: (34.354N, 73.365E), (33.974N, 73.798E),
(34.187N, 74.178E), (34.702N, 73.641E) and (34.418N, 73.398E). After establishing the source zones, the next step was to learn
The Panjal fault, which is 0.68 km long, and the MBT, which is the size of the earthquakes that the area of study is likely to expe-
0.68 km long and runs from NW to SE, cross this zone in its center. rience. The Guttenberg–Richter Law (1954) is traditionally used in
A total of 164 earthquakes were reported in the PMD catalogue, of PSHA to establish the frequency magnitude relationship. In fact,
which, 28 had a magnitude greater than 4.5. The maximum these scientists were pioneers who described the pattern of

Fig. 4. Seismicity of Zone-2.

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Fig. 6. Seismicity of Zone-4.

Fig. 8. Seismicity of Zone-6.

Fig. 7. Seismicity of Zone-5.

magnitudes of earthquakes and their occurrence. An empirical Fig. 9. Seismicity of Zone-7.

relationship between magnitude and frequency was proposed as
log NðMÞ ¼ a  bM ð1Þ analysis graphs are shown in Figs. 3–10 representing the Zone 1–7
and Zone 0 respectively. A complete seismicity model of the area is
Exponentially, Eq. (1) can be expressed as: presented in Table 2. Table 2 shows that Zones 2 and 4 have no
seismicity, which is also supported by the absence of any fault,
kM ¼ 10ðabMÞ ¼ eðabMÞ ð2Þ
as shown in Fig. 8. The two lowest values of ‘a’ were also found
On the left-hand side of the equation is the number of events in Zones 2 and 4, which is an indicator of low seismicity. Zone 5
per year for which an earthquake of magnitude M will be exceeded, had the highest value of k, and there is a syntax present as shown
a and b are seismic constants, ‘a’ is a is standard deviation values in in Fig. 8. A large number of earthquakes were also reported in the
Ambraseys Model which has been used for hazard computation by catalogue for this zone. Zone 6 had the highest value of ‘b’, which
CRISIS software, and b is b  ln 10. The term ‘‘a’’ denotes the seis- indicates a lower number of large earthquakes. This trend is also
micity of a zone and varies from region to region, and ‘‘b’’ denotes evident from the catalogue data, which show that all events in
the relative likelihood of small or large earthquakes. A decrease in Zone 6 were less than Mw 4.8. Looking at the parameters calculated
value of ‘‘b’’ implies an increase in the likelihood of large earth- for Zone 0, it appears that the area surrounding Islamabad is seis-
quakes. To calculate the ‘‘a’’ and ‘‘b’’ values, regression models were mically active, and the structures constructed in Islamabad should
applied to the seismic data of each zone. The SEISAN software was be retrofitted for the appropriate seismic loading. The high ‘b’ value
used to calculate ‘‘a’’ and ‘‘b’’ values in all seven zones. Calculations found indicates a lower likelihood of large earthquakes.
were also performed for Zone 0, which includes all seven zones in CRISIS 2007 software was used for the PSHA. CRISIS computes a
the study area. The values of ‘‘a’’ and ‘‘b’’ along with the regression seismic hazard using a probabilistic model that considers the rates
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Table 3
Computed hazards for different return periods.

Sector PGA PGA Ss S1

Return period years 500 2500 2500 2500
F-6 2.3 3.44 7.71 0.45
F-7 2.46 3.66 8.15 0.46
F-8 2.5 3.7 8.24 0.47
F-9 2.5 3.7 8.24 0.47
F-10 2.47 3.64 8.14 0.47
F-11* 2.54 3.72 8.31 0.47
G-6 1.88 2.85 6.49 0.41
G-7 1.87 2.85 6.49 0.41
G-8 2.02 3.04 6.89 0.42
G-9 2.06 3.09 7.00 0.43
G-10 2.05 3.08 6.97 0.43
G-11 2.12 3.17 7.16 0.43
I-8 1.35 2.2 5.08 0.36
I-9 1.40 2.25 5.18 0.36
I-10 1.45 2.32 5.31 0.37
I-11 1.52 2.41 5.50 0.37
Diplomatic enclave 1.59 2.44 5.64 0.38
Italic values show that maximum PGA is estimated for sector F-11.

Fig. 10. Seismicity of Zone-0. coefficient of variation for b was set to 0.4. The untruncated ex-
pected value of Mu was set between M1 and M2.

of occurrence, attenuation characteristics and the geographical dis- 3.4. Ground motion parameters
tribution of earthquakes. CRISIS has the option to model earth-
quake recurrence as a Poissonian process or a Characteristic The recurrence law establishes the likelihood that an earth-
process. We used a Poissonian model following the work of Cornell quake of a certain magnitude will occur, but in our engineering cal-
(1968), who first introduced it as a mathematical model for PSHA. culations, we use certain parameters for earthquakes such as PGA
Since then, all contemporary PSHAs have been based on Poisson’s or spectral acceleration values at different periods. One of the key
model. The most important reason for this is that the Poissonian purposes of any seismic hazard analysis is to predict ground mo-
model is the simplest model that captures the basic elements of tion parameters of a certain magnitude of earthquake, which is
the entire concept. Its predictions have also been successfully com- done using attenuation equations. Ground motions attenuate as
pared with empirical observations (Sen, 2009). Eq. (1) covers an we move away from the source where the energy was released.
infinite range of magnitude; therefore, an upper bound of earth- A number of parameters, including magnitude of earthquake, dis-
quake M2 was assigned to each source. This value was kept higher tance from the source, travel path, and the depth of earthquake, af-
than M1. Bearing in mind the faults and the area’s past seismicity, fect the attenuation relationship. Attenuation relationships are
an appropriate value ranging from 0.3 to 1 was added to M1 and M2 mostly derived empirically from a mathematical process known
and was assigned as shown in Table 2. The catalogues are generally as the data fitting technique. In its most basic form, an attenuation
not complete for earthquakes of lower magnitudes, and earth- relation can be described as:
quakes with magnitudes less than Mw = 4 are of less engineering
ln y ¼ c1 þ c2 M  c3 ln R  c4 R þ c5 F þ c6 S þ e ð3Þ
significance because they do not cause major damage. Because
shallow earthquakes cause more damage and most of the earth- In above equation, y is strong motion parameter of interest such
quakes in our area of study had a focal depth of less than 30 km, as PGA, etc., M is the magnitude of the earthquake, F is faulting
the threshold magnitude was set at 3.3. This threshold value re- mechanism of earthquake, S describes local site conditions, e is
sulted in a negative k in Zone 2 and Zone 4. Because the software the random error term and R is the distance term. Many of the
does not accept a negative value for k, the threshold value was low- mathematical expressions in the above equation are rooted in
ered to get a nominal value of k in Zones 2 and 4.The maximum va- earthquake seismology. Although a number of attenuation rela-
lue to be calculated for each source Mu is unknown, and there are tionships have been proposed by different scientists like Ambra-
uncertainties present in its probabilistic calculation. To account for seys et al. (2005) and others, none are based on the local data of
these uncertainties, a standard deviation of 0.5 was set for all Pakistan. Another complication in the present study was that we
sources. Similarly, to account for uncertainties in the database, a needed an attenuation relationship that addressed spectral

Table 2
Seismicity model of the study area.

Events Age in years ‘N’ Min in zone M1 M2 a b anormal Expected b Mthresh k per year
Zone 1 25 41 2.7 5.5 6.5 3.21 0.48 1.597 1.11 3.3 0.01
Zone 2 6 9 3 5.2 5.7 1.69 0.36 0.736 0.83 2.0 0.02
Zone 3 22 37 2.8 5.4 6.4 7.68 1.4 6.112 3.22 3.3 1.49
Zone 4 6 15 3.3 5.2 5.6 2.37 0.44 1.194 1.01 2.3 0.18
Zone 5 625 73 2.8 6.1 7.1 7.46 1.12 5.597 2.58 3.3 1.90
Zone 6 66 26 2.8 4.8 5.8 9.5 1.91 8.085 4.40 3.3 1.78
Zone 7 162 38 2.3 7.5 7.8 5.65 0.87 4.070 2.00 3.3 1.20
Zone 0 912 73 2.3 7.5 7.8 7.97 1.19 6.107 2.74 3.3 2.18
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A.Q. Bhatti et al. / Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 42 (2011) 468–478 475

Fig. 11. Mapped spectral acceleration parameter Ss.

acceleration at various time periods. Building further on the expe- (Mona Lisa et al., 2005)); and (c) the attenuation relationship for
rience gained from PMD and the Norwegian firm NORSAR, the spectral accelerations of different structural periods was included
model suggested by Ambraseys et al. (2005) is used in this study in Ambraseys Model. This was a key requirement for this study.
for the following reasons: (a) the data used came from Europe
and the Middle East, which, like in our area of study, have shallow 3.5. Spectral ordinates
earthquakes; (b) the tectonic conditions of the Mediterranean are
the most similar to those of our region (Ambraseys also used data Most of the researchers have only reported PGA values for
from the Himalayan region, which comprised 3% of their database Islamabad. Traditionally, PGA has been used as a parameter for
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Fig. 12. Mapped spectral acceleration parameter S1.

seismic hazards because it was easily read from analog accelero- 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5. The minimum intensity to be considered was
grams. However, PGA does not correlate well with the damage 0.001 m/s2 and the maximum limit was set to 12 m/s2 (1.2 g).
potential of an earthquake (NORSAR and PMD, 2006). Therefore, These limits are reasonable because various the PGA values re-
modern building codes also base their measurements of seismic ported for Islamabad by several researchers were all less than
hazards on spectral values. For example, spectral acceleration val- 0.5. Ambraseys used a period of 0.001 for PGA calculations;
ues are required at a structural period of 0.2 s and 1 s by ASCE 7- 0.2 s and 1.0 s periods are required by IBC 2006. The remaining
05 and IBC-2006. Only PGA values are required by BCP 2007 and periods are required to create a uniform hazard spectrum. The de-
UBC-97. In this study, eight spectral ordinates were set for which fault unit of this model is m/s2. We considered 15 points to be
hazard intensity was calculated; these are 0.001, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1.0, sufficient to draw hazard curve.
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3.6. Return period because the area of study is about 250 km in the NS direction and
180 km in the EW direction; therefore, the integration of all events
One of the purposes of this study was to evaluate seismic haz- at a distance of 300 km was a conservative choice.
ards at various annual exceedance probability levels. In modern
building codes, risk level is often defined as a certain% of exceed- 4. Results of PSHA
ance in the lifetime of a structure. BCP 2007 states that buildings
should be designed for a level of earthquake ground motion that The computation grid was limited to the administrative bound-
has 10% probability of exceedance in 50 years. IBC 2006 sets this aries of the Islamabad district and a portion of Abbotabad. Its four
parameter at 2% probability of exceedance in 50 years. The return corners are defined by following coordinates: (Long 72.8 and Lat
period is the time gap after which an earthquake of a given magni- 33.5), (Long 73.3 and Lat 33.5), (Long 73.3 and Lat 34.2) and (Long
tude can occur again. If TR is the return period, T is useful life period 72.8 and Lat 34.2). The area where the hazard was calculated was
of a structure and P is annual probability of exceedance, then: divided into 59 longitudinal lines and 78 lateral lines, making 4602
T squares spaced at 1.1 km in each direction. The hazard was calcu-
TR ¼ ð4Þ lated at all four corners of each square, and interpolation was done
lnðT  PÞ
for the intermediate locations. The seismic hazard of important
If, for example, T = 50 years (the assumed lifetime of a structure) locations is presented in Table 3. The values given are for rock sites,
and P = 2% (i.e., 98% chance of non-exceedance of an earthquake), and these values will be suitably modified by a soil factor. The de-
then TR = 2475 years, which is rounded to 2500 years. The corre- tailed contours are given in Figs. 11 and 12.
sponding annual exceedance rate is 1/2500 = 0.0004. According to
this formula, the BCP requires us to estimate the hazard for a return 5. Conclusion
period of 500 years, whereas the IBC requires spectral values to be
calculated for a return period of 2500 years. In this study, the haz- The seismic hazard in Islamabad is not uniform, and it varies
ard was estimated for return periods of 50, 100, 500, 1000 and from sector to sector with a PGA ranging from 1.35 m/s2 to
2500 years. The corresponding annual exceedance rates were 0.02, 2.54 m/s2. The F series of the sector is the most prone to seismic
0.01, 0.002, 0.001 and 0.0004. threat, and F-11 is seismically the most exposed sector in Islama-
bad. During deaggregation, we found that an earthquake of Mw
3.7. Spatial integration 6.2 at a distance of 20–30 km is the earthquake that is most likely
to strike Islamabad. BCP 2007 placed Islamabad in seismic Zone 2B,
In this study, the seismic hazard was integrated using all possi- which indicates a 500 years return PGA of 0.16–0.25 g. Similarly,
ble sources. A spatial integration process was performed to account NESPAK (2006) suggested a PGA of 0.3 g for a return period of
for all possible focal locations. Usually, it is assumed that within a 2500 years. The PGA calculated for this return period in this study
seismic source all points are equally to be an earthquake focus. In ranges from 0.24 g to 0.37 g. The PGA calculated in this study for
this case, acceleration exceedance rates due to a single source, the Islamabad generally falls in the same range. However, this study
ith, are computed using the following expression: presents PGA for a grid of 1 km by 1 km; therefore, microzonation
X Z Mu   is built into the IBC 2006 criteria. Ss (spectral acceleration at 0.2 s at
v iðaÞ ¼ wij  Pr A > ajM; Rij dM ð5Þ a return period of 2500 years) and S1 (spectral acceleration at 1 s at
j M0 dM return period of 2500 years) will enable structural engineers to de-
fine seismic load in terms of the IBC 2006 and ASCE 7-05 criteria.
where M0 and Mu are the smallest and largest magnitudes consid- We were also able to establish that 90% of the earthquakes in the
ered in the analysis, respectively, and Pr (A > a|M, Rij)) is the proba- area are caused by the thrust fault mechanism and are shallow
bility that acceleration exceeds the value a at the site, given that at earthquakes, where even a small magnitude can be disastrous.
distance Rij an earthquake of magnitude M originates. Rij are the dis-
tances between the site and the sub-elements into which the source
is divided. A weight wij is assigned to each sub-element, and the
expression above assumes that wij ¼ 1. Finally, the contributions Aitchison, J.C., Ali, J.R., Davis, A.M., 2007. When and where did India and Asia.
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