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A preliminary assessment of earthquake ground shaking hazard at Yucca Mountain, Nevada and implications to the Las Vegas region

Description: As part of early design studies for the potential Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, the authors have performed a preliminary probabilistic seismic hazard analysis of ground shaking. A total of 88 Quaternary faults within 100 km of the site were considered in the hazard analysis. They were characterized in terms of their probability o being seismogenic, and their geometry, maximum earthquake magnitude, recurrence model, and slip rate. Individual faults were characterized by maximum earthquakes that ranged from moment magnitude (M{sub w}) 5.1 to 7.6. Fault slip rates ranged from a very low 0.00001 mm/yr to as much as 4 mm/yr. An areal source zone representing background earthquakes up to M{sub w} 6 1/4 = 1/4 was also included in the analysis. Recurrence for these background events was based on the 1904--1994 historical record, which contains events up to M{sub w} 5.6. Based on this analysis, the peak horizontal rock accelerations are 0.16, 0.21, 0.28, and 0.50 g for return periods of 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 10,000 years, respectively. In general, the dominant contributor to the ground shaking hazard at Yucca Mountain are background earthquakes because of the low slip rates of the Basin and Range faults. A significant effect on the probabilistic ground motions is due to the inclusion of a new attenuation relation developed specifically for earthquakes in extensional tectonic regimes. This relation gives significantly lower peak accelerations than five other predominantly California-based relations used in the analysis, possibly due to the lower stress drops of extensional earthquakes compared to California events. Because Las Vegas is located within the same tectonic regime as Yucca Mountain, the seismic sources and path and site factors affecting the seismic hazard at Yucca Mountain also have implications to Las Vegas. These implications are discussed in this paper.
Date: December 31, 1996
Creator: Wong, I. G.; Green, R. K.; Sun, J. I.; Pezzopane, S. K.; Abrahamson, N. A. & Quittmeyer, R. C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department