An approach for identification of areas with higher expected damage and definition of priority levels for prevention plans in Murcia Province (SE Spain)

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The Murcia Region is one of the most active zones in Spain, where three earthquakes took place in 1999, 2002 and 2005. In spite of their low magnitudes (Mw 4.8), these earthquakes caused important damage, the last one reaching an EMS-98 intensity of VII. After that event, the RISMUR project started, aimed at providing a general picture of the seismic risk, which allows us to identify zones requiring a more detailed analysis of where prevention plans should be prioritized. A multi disciplinary study, starting with the seismic hazard assessment, which follows the Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Assessment methodology has been carried out at a regional scale. The expected ground motion (rock sites), for a return period of 475 years, has been characterized in terms of PGA and spectral ordinates and the corresponding maps have been drawn. In addition, a regional geotechnical study has been done and a classification of eight types of soils has been proposed, with the corresponding amplification factors. The combination of previous maps and factors, gives a new hazard map which already includes local effects. In parallel, a vulnerability assessment of the Murcian building stock is carried out, based fundamentally on the age of construction and following the EMS-98 criteria. Taking into account the expected ground motions and building vulnerabilities, the distribution of expected damage is estimated by the application of probability damage matrixes. A suite of maps representing seismic risk in terms of damage parameters for the entire region and from which we can identify the locations with higher expected damage have been obtained. We use the Coulomb stress transfer map of the region as additional criteria for defining priority areas where detailed studies should be performed. This gives information about the zones with stress load due to the previous seismicity and where new events could be triggered. The superposition of this map with the active faults of the region and the locations with higher expected damage allows us to establish a four-level priority ranking where future local-scale analyses should be made.