Modelling earthquake rupture rates in fault systems for seismic hazard assessment: The Eastern Betics Shear Zone

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Earthquake surface fault ruptures can show very complex geometries and involve different faults simultaneously. Consequently, modern fault-based probabilistic seismic hazard assessments (PSHA) need to account for such complexities in order to achieve more realistic modellings that treat fault systems as a whole and consider the occurrence of earthquake ruptures as aleatory uncertainties. We use SHERIFS, a recent approach of modelling annual rates of complex multi-fault ruptures, to obtain system-level magnitude-frequency distributions (MFDs) for the Eastern Betics Shear Zone (EBSZ, Spain) considering four fault rupture hypotheses. We then analyze the consistency of each scenario based on data from the earthquake catalogue and paleoseismic studies. The definition of the different rupture hypotheses was discussed within the frame of Fault2SHA ESC working group and critical fault input data is extracted from previous published studies. The four rupture hypotheses are defined as incremental scenarios based on fault geometry and kinematics, with lengths varying from minimal fault sections to a rupture of nearly the whole system. The results suggest that multi-fault ruptures involving lengths up to single to several whole faults are consistent with the annual rates from both the instrumental catalogue and paleoseismic record. The method does not allow to completely discard any hypothesis, but it allows to weight the different models in a logic tree for seismic hazard assessment. The approach is revealed as a practical tool for obtaining fault-system MFDs and as a useful tool for highlighting limitations and uncertainties in geological and paleoseismic data to be assessed. This study aims to constitute a step forward in the consideration of complex multi-fault ruptures for future seismic hazard assessments in the region.