Articles | Volume 13, issue 1
Research article
25 Jan 2013
Research article |  | 25 Jan 2013

Seismic hazard assessment in Polyphyto Dam area (NW Greece) and its relation with the "unexpected" earthquake of 13 May 1995 (Ms = 6.5, NW Greece)

K. Pavlou, G. Kaviris, K. Chousianitis, G. Drakatos, V. Kouskouna, and K. Makropoulos

Abstract. Seismic hazard assessment and seismicity changes are investigated in the Kozani–Grevena area, at the western margin of internal Hellenides in NW Greece. The region is of great interest, since it was characterized by very low seismic activity until 1995, when the "unexpected" Kozani–Grevena earthquake (Ms = 6.5) occurred. This event is of significant importance for Greece, since it, along with the 1999 Athens earthquake, initiated the modification of the Greek Building Code. In order to detect any seismicity changes, the seismicity of the region was divided into three time windows: the first up to 1973, the second from 1900 to 1994 and the third covering the entire instrumental period.

For the above mentioned time windows, seismic hazard assessment was performed using the extreme values method. The results indicate an increase of the peak ground acceleration (PGA) values after the impoundment, with the exception of the area in the vicinity of the NE edge of the Dam. Before the occurrence of the 1995 event, the epicentral region also exhibited higher PGA values than before the impoundment. The most significant increase in PGA values is observed SE of the Polyphyto artificial lake, where the largest values are observed for the second and the third period. The coincident increase in the number of earthquakes and in the PGA values may be attributed to the impoundment of the Polyphyto Dam.

The maximum expected magnitude is calculated by the extreme values method and Gumbel's third asymptotic distribution. The results reveal similar values of maximum expected magnitudes (Mmax = 6.5), independent of the seismicity rate, indicating that the 13 May 1995 earthquake was not an "unexpected" event, since the magnitude of an oncoming earthquake depends mainly on the tectonics of the region and the characteristics of the active faults.