The University of Texas at Austin
  • Predicting the Big One

    By Aaron Dubrow, Texas Advanced Computing Center
    Published: March 27, 2013

    Research by Thomas Jordan, Director of Southern California Earthquake Center

    The active faults along the Pacific-North American plate boundary in California make the region a natural laboratory for understanding earthquakes. Researchers from the Southern California Earthquake Center are using Stampede to forecast the frequency of damaging earthquakes in California for the latest Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast.

    Texas Unleashes Stampede

    Go back to the KNOW story on Stampede.

    An Earthquake Rupture Forecast gives the probability of all possible, damaging earthquakes throughout a region and over a specified time span. To prepare a new California forecast, the group must run hundreds of thousands of data inversions to explore the full range of slip rates, earthquake magnitudes and locations. The inversions take into consideration the history of earthquake activity throughout California and the fact that faults relate and react to each other during an earthquake. These inversions are then combined to provide a comprehensive view of earthquake risk in the region.

    The results of the simulations on Stampede, once approved, will be incorporated into the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Seismic Hazard Maps, which are used to set building codes and insurance rates.

    “We do a lot of high-performance computing calculations, but it’s rare that any of them have this level of potential impact,” says Thomas Jordan, director Southern California Earthquake Center.

    UCERF 3 Fault Participation Rates

    Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast

    Figure 1: This map shows the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast v.3 (UCERF3) which forecasts the probability of all possible damaging earthquakes greater than magnitude 5.0 throughout California over a given time frame such as the next 30 years. This map view of California shows active California faults as defined in UCERF3. The fault colors show the UCERF3 forecast of the rate at which each fault section will participate in an earthquake rupture with magnitude greater than 6.5. Less likely sections are shown in blue and more likely sections in red.

    The light blue boundary identifies the UCERF model region, which comprises California and a buffer zone. The blue boxes highlight the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles Regions.

    SCEC scientists used TACC supercomputers Ranger and Stampede to calculate the hazards from many alternative earthquake rupture scenarios and to combine the results in the final UCERF3 earthquake rupture forecast.

    Currently under scientific review, once approved, UCERF3 is expected to be used by the California Earthquake Authority to set insurance rates and purchase catastrophe reinsurance, to be used by structural engineers to design safer communities, and to used by the public to understand earthquake risk.

    (Image Credit: Kevin Milner University of Southern California)


    UCERF 3 Fault and Background Seismicity Participation Rates

    Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast

    Figure 2: This map shows the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast v.3 (UCERF3) which forecasts the probability of all possible damaging earthquakes greater than magnitude 5.0 throughout California over a given time frame such as the next 5 years. This map view of California shows active California faults as defined in UCERF3. The fault colors show the UCERF3 forecast of the rate at which each fault section will participate in an earthquake rupture with magnitude greater than 6.7. Less likely sections are shown in blue and more likely sections in red. The background colors on the map show UCERF3 earthquake rate forecasts for off-fault regions.

    SCEC scientists used TACC supercomputers including Ranger and Stampede to calculate the hazards from many alternative earthquake rupture scenarios and to combine the results into the final UCERF3 earthquake rupture forecast.

    Currently under scientific review, once approved, UCERF3 is expected to be used by the California Earthquake Authority to set insurance rates and purchase catastrophe reinsurance, to be used by structural engineers to design safer communities, and to used by the public to understand earthquake risk.

    (Image Credit: Kevin Milner University of Southern California)


    Comments are closed.

    Share:
    • Digg
    • del.icio.us
    • StumbleUpon
    • Facebook
    • Google Bookmarks
    • LinkedIn
    • Twitter
    • Print
    • email