Incorporating Induced Seismicity in the 2014 United States National Seismic Hazard Model-Results of 2014 Workshop and Sensitivity Studies


Publication Year: 



The U.S. Geological Survey National Seismic Hazard Model for the conterminous United States was updated in 2014 to account for new methods, input models, and data necessary for assessing the seismic ground shaking hazard from natural (tectonic) earthquakes. The U.S. Geological Survey National Seismic Hazard Model project uses probabilistic seismic hazard analysis to quantify the rate of exceedance for earthquake ground shaking (ground motion). For the 2014 National Seismic Hazard Model assessment, the seismic hazard from potentially induced earthquakes was intentionally not considered because we had not determined how to properly treat these earthquakes for the seismic hazard analysis. The phrases “potentially induced” and “induced” are used interchangeably in this report, however it is acknowledged that this classification is based on circumstantial evidence and scientific judgment. For the 2014 National Seismic Hazard Model update, the potentially induced earthquakes were removed from the NSHM’s earthquake catalog, and the documentation states that we would consider alternative models for including induced seismicity in a future version of the National Seismic Hazard Model. As part of the process of incorporating induced seismicity into the seismic hazard model, we evaluate the sensitivity of the seismic hazard from induced seismicity to five parts of the hazard model: (1) the earthquake catalog, (2) earthquake rates, (3) earthquake locations, (4) earthquake Mmax (maximum magnitude), and (5) earthquake ground motions. We describe alternative input models for each of the five parts that represent differences in scientific opinions on induced seismicity characteristics. In this report, however, we do not weight these input models to come up with a preferred final model. Instead, we present a sensitivity study showing uniform seismic hazard maps obtained by applying the alternative input models for induced seismicity. The final model will be released after further consideration of the reliability and scientific acceptability of each alternative input model. Forecasting the seismic hazard from induced earthquakes is fundamentally different from forecasting the seismic hazard for natural, tectonic earthquakes. This is because the spatio-temporal patterns of induced earthquakes are reliant on economic forces and public policy decisions regarding extraction and injection of fluids. As such, the rates of induced earthquakes are inherently variable and nonstationary. Therefore, we only make maps based on an annual rate of exceedance rather than the 50-year rates calculated for previous U.S. Geological Survey hazard maps.

Document Type: 

  • Report


  • critical issues, database publication, earthquake, hazards, united states