A critical review of seismic hazard assessments and seismic design codes for Colombia

Student: Ana Acevedo Jaramillo
Supervisor: Prof. J.J. Bommer


A seismic hazard assessment with reliable results that can be adequately taken into account in seismic design guidelines is essential for a highly seismic country such as Colombia. This work reviews the hazard assessments available for the country as well as its seismic design codes, in order to conclude about their reliability and the possible necessity of a state-of-the-art hazard assessment for the country and new representation of seismic actions in the Colombian design code.

Initially a state of the art review on seismic hazard assessment is presented in order to set parameters for the review. An introduction to the tectonics and seismicity of Colombia is done to understand the different geo-tectonic processes that take place in the country. A review of the seismicity of the country and its new seismological and accelerograph networks is done. Different earthquake catalogues that have been developed for the country are presented; an assessment of the completeness and uncertainty in magnitude and location for the most recent catalogue available for the country is carried out. The Colombian strong-motion database is also reviewed. Attenuation relationships that have been derived from the Colombian database, as well as relationships that have been used in previous studies and some global equations for subduction and crustal events are presented; their applicability to Colombia is evaluated.

Once the elements of the seismic hazard model for the country have been evaluated, the seismic hazard assessments and microzonation studies that have been carried out for the country are reviewed in terms of methodology, seismic source zones, attenuation relationships and calculation and presentation of the results. Special attention is given to the studies of Garcia et al. (1984) and AIS (1996), since their results were included in the seismic codes of 1984 and 1998, respectively. The representation of the seismic actions in these two codes is presented.

A final discussion of the seismic hazard assessments and design codes developed for the country is presented. All of the presented previous elements are analysed in order to conclude that a new seismic hazard assessment according to the state of the art is needed for the country, as well as a change in the seismic representation of the actual Colombian code.

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