Improving Urban Seismic Risk Estimates for Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Incorporating Recent Geological Knowledge of Hazards

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Ruth Amey, John Elliott, C. Scott Watson, Richard Walker, Marco Pagani, Vitor Silva, Ekbal Hussain, Kanatbek Abdrakhmatov, Sultan Baikulov, Gulkaiyr Tilek Kyzyz


Many cities are built on or near active faults, which pose seismic hazard and risk to the urban population. This risk is exacerbated by city expansion, which may obscure signs of active faulting. Here we estimate the risk to Bishkek city, Kyrgyzstan, due to realistic earthquake scenarios based on historic earthquakes in the region and improved knowledge of the active faulting. We use previous literature and fault mapping, combined with new high-resolution digital elevation models to identify and characterise faults that pose a risk to Bishkek. We then estimate the hazard (ground shaking), damage to residential buildings and losses (economical cost and fatalities) using the Global Earthquake Model OpenQuake engine. We model historical events and hypothetical events on a variety of faults that could plausibly host significant earthquakes. This includes proximal, recognised, faults as well as a fault under folding in the north of the city that we identify using satellite DEMs. We find that potential earthquakes on faults nearest to Bishkek - Issyk Ata, Shamsi Tunduk, Chonkurchak and the northern fault - would cause the most damage to the city. An Mw 7.5 earthquake on the Issyk Ata fault could potentially cause 7,900 ± 2600 completely damaged buildings, a further 16,400 ± 2000 damaged buildings and 2400 ± 1500 fatalities. It is vital to properly identify, characterise and model active faults near cities as modelling the northern fault as a Mw 6.5 instead of Mw 6.0 would result in 37% more completely damaged buildings and 48% more fatalities.



Geology, Geomorphology, Tectonics and Structure


earthquake, Hazard, Risk, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, fault, Hazard, Risk, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, faults, DEMs


Published: 2021-12-07 20:18

Last Updated: 2021-12-07 20:18


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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Pointclouds will be made available on OpenTopography

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