06 Dec 2023
 | 06 Dec 2023
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Assessment of Sweden

Niranjan Joshi, Björn Lund, and Roland Roberts

Abstract. Assessing seismic hazard in stable continental regions (SCR) such as Sweden poses unique challenges compared to active seismic regions. With diffuse seismicity, low seismicity rate, few large magnitude earthquakes and little strong motion data, estimating recurrence parameters and determining appropriate attenuation relationships is challenging. This study presents a probabilistic seismic hazard assessment of Sweden based on a recent earthquake catalogue which includes a large number of events with magnitudes ranging from 5.9 to -1.4, enabling recurrence parameters to be calculated for more source areas than in previous studies, and with less uncertainty. Recent ground motion models developed specifically for stable continental regions, including Fennoscandia, are used in logic trees accounting for their uncertainty and the hazard is calculated using the OpenQuake engine. The results are presented in the form of mean peak ground acceleration (PGA) maps at 475 and 2500 year return periods and hazard curves for four seismically active areas in Sweden. We find the highest hazard in the northernmost part of the country, in the post-glacial fault province. This is in contrast to previous studies, which have not considered the high seismic activity on the post-glacial faults. We also find relatively high hazard along the northeast coast and in southwestern Sweden, whereas the southeast and the mountain region to the northwest have low hazard. For a 475 year return period we estimate the highest PGAs to be 0.04–0.05 g, in the far north, and for a 2500 year return period it is 0.1–0.15 g in the same area. Significant uncertainties remain to be addressed in regards to the SCR seismicity in Sweden, including the homogenization of small local magnitudes with large moment magnitudes, the occurrence of large events in areas with little prior seismicity and the uncertainties surrounding the potential for large earthquakes on the post-glacial faults in northern Fennoscandia.

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Niranjan Joshi, Björn Lund, and Roland Roberts

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2023-213', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 Jan 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Niranjan Joshi, 01 May 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2023-213', Ilaria Mosca, 12 Feb 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Niranjan Joshi, 01 May 2024
Niranjan Joshi, Björn Lund, and Roland Roberts

Data sets

Earthquake catalogue data - SNSN Swedish national seismic network

Earthquake catalogue data - FENCAT Institute of Seismology, University of Helsinki

Earthquake catalogue data - FNSN The Institute of Seismology, University of Helsinki

Earthquake catalogue data - NNSN Department of Earth Science, University of Bergen

Earthquake catalogue data - GEUS The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland

Earthquake catalogue data - Estonian seismic network Geological Survey of Estonia

Niranjan Joshi, Björn Lund, and Roland Roberts


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Short summary
Few large earthquakes and low occurrence rates makes seismic hazard assessment of Sweden a challenging task. Since 2000, expansion of the seismic network has improved the quality and quantity of the data recorded. We use this new data to estimate the Swedish seismic hazard using probabilistic methods. We find that hazard was previously underestimated in the north, which we find to have the highest hazard in Sweden with mean peak ground acceleration of up to 0.05 g for a 475 year return period.