Articles | Volume 12, issue 2
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 511–526, 2012
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 511–526, 2012

Research article 29 Feb 2012

Research article | 29 Feb 2012

Comparison between seismic and domestic risk in moderate seismic hazard prone region: the Grenoble City (France) test site

F. Dunand1 and P. Gueguen2 F. Dunand and P. Gueguen
  • 1GEOTER, Pôle Géoenvironnement, 2 rue Jean Monnet, 34830 Clapiers, France
  • 2ISTerre, Universite Joseph Fourier – Grenoble 1, CNRS, IFSTTAR, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France

Abstract. France has a moderate level of seismic activity, characterized by diffuse seismicity, sometimes experiencing earthquakes of a magnitude of more than 5 in the most active zones. In this seismicity context, Grenoble is a city of major economic and social importance. However, earthquakes being rare, public authorities and the decision makers are only vaguely committed to reducing seismic risk: return periods are long and local policy makers do not have much information available. Over the past 25 yr, a large number of studies have been conducted to improve our knowledge of seismic hazard in this region. One of the decision-making concerns of Grenoble's public authorities, as managers of a large number of public buildings, is to know not only the seismic-prone regions, the variability of seismic hazard due to site effects and the city's overall vulnerability, but also the level of seismic risk and exposure for the entire city, also compared to other natural or/and domestic hazards. Our seismic risk analysis uses a probabilistic approach for regional and local hazards and the vulnerability assessment of buildings. Its applicability to Grenoble offers the advantage of being based on knowledge acquired by previous projects conducted over the years. This paper aims to compare the level of seismic risk with that of other risks and to introduce the notion of risk acceptability in order to offer guidance in the management of seismic risk. This notion of acceptability, which is now part of seismic risk consideration for existing buildings in Switzerland, is relevant in moderately seismic-prone countries like France.