2020
Ref: SCART-2020-0145

How well does known seismicity between the Lower Rhine Graben and southern North Sea reflect future earthquake activity?

Camelbeeck, Thierry ; Vanneste, Kris ; Verbeeck, Koen ; Garcia-Moreno, David ; Van Noten, Koen ; Lecocq, Thomas


published in Historical Earthquakes, Paleoseismology, Neotectonics and Seismic Hazard: New Insights and Suggested Procedures, DGEB-Publikation Nr. 18, pp. 53-72 (2020)

Abstract: Since the 14th century, moderate seismic activity with 14 earthquakes of magnitude MW≥5.0 occurred in Western Europe in a region extending from the Lower Rhine Graben (LRG) to the southern North Sea. In this paper, we investigate how well this seismic activity could reflect that of the future. The observed earthquake activity in the LRG is continuous and concentrates on the Quaternary normal faults delimiting the LRG, which are also the source of large surface rupturing Holocene and Late Pleistocene earthquakes. The estimated magnitude of these past earthquakes ranges from 6.3±0.3 to 7.0±0.3 while their average recurrence on individual faults varies from ten thousand to a few ten thousand years, which makes foreseeing future activity over the long-term possible. Three of the largest historical earthquakes with MW≥5.5 occurred outside the LRG. Late Quaternary activity along the fault zones suspected to be the source of two of these earthquakes, i.e. the 1580 Strait of Dover and 1692 northern Belgian Ardennes earthquakes, is very elusive if it exists. Hence, similar earthquakes would be very infrequent at these locations suggesting that the seismicity outside of the LRG would be episodic and clustered on some faults during periods of a few hundreds of years interrupted by long periods of inactivity typically lasting for some tens to hundreds of thousand years. Seismic moment release estimation and its comparison between recent geological and historical seismicity periods lead us to suggest that the high seismicity level observed between AD 1350 and AD 1700 west of the LRG would be uncommon.

Keyword(s): Seismicity
DOI: 10.23689/fidgeo-3860
Links: link


The record appears in these collections:
Royal Observatory of Belgium > Seismology & Gravimetry
Science Articles > Peer Reviewed Articles



 Record created 2020-09-16, last modified 2020-11-12