Articles | Volume 17, issue 8
Review article
30 Aug 2017
Review article |  | 30 Aug 2017

Active fault databases: building a bridge between earthquake geologists and seismic hazard practitioners, the case of the QAFI v.3 database

Julián García-Mayordomo, Raquel Martín-Banda, Juan M. Insua-Arévalo, José A. Álvarez-Gómez, José J. Martínez-Díaz, and João Cabral

Abstract. Active fault databases are a very powerful and useful tool in seismic hazard assessment, particularly when singular faults are considered seismogenic sources. Active fault databases are also a very relevant source of information for earth scientists, earthquake engineers and even teachers or journalists. Hence, active fault databases should be updated and thoroughly reviewed on a regular basis in order to keep a standard quality and uniformed criteria. Desirably, active fault databases should somehow indicate the quality of the geological data and, particularly, the reliability attributed to crucial fault-seismic parameters, such as maximum magnitude and recurrence interval. In this paper we explain how we tackled these issues during the process of updating and reviewing the Quaternary Active Fault Database of Iberia (QAFI) to its current version 3. We devote particular attention to describing the scheme devised for classifying the quality and representativeness of the geological evidence of Quaternary activity and the accuracy of the slip rate estimation in the database. Subsequently, we use this information as input for a straightforward rating of the level of reliability of maximum magnitude and recurrence interval fault seismic parameters. We conclude that QAFI v.3 is a much better database than version 2 either for proper use in seismic hazard applications or as an informative source for non-specialized users. However, we already envision new improvements for a future update.

Short summary
Earthquakes are produced by sudden movements of rock masses along surfaces called faults. Major earthquakes are produced by major faults. It is important to know where these faults are located in a territory. Major faults can be seen in the landscape as they control the morphology of the terrain. In the field geologists determine their last movement and the rate they move at over time. This information is stored in active fault databases and later used for earthquake prevention.
Final-revised paper