Earthquake hazard analysis; issues and insights

Earthquake hazard analysis; issues and insights

379 Tecmwphysics, 212 (1992) 379-384 Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., Amsterdam Book Reviews Ea~~~a~ Hazard Analyst; and Insights, by Leon Re...

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Tecmwphysics, 212 (1992) 379-384 Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., Amsterdam

Book Reviews Ea~~~a~ Hazard Analyst; and Insights, by Leon Reiter. Columbia University Press, New York, 1990, hardcover, x + 254 pp., US$75.00 (ISBN O-231-06534-5) Leon Reiter is one of those people who have obligations to write books like this. Reiter has spent most of his career in two influential positions (US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board) in engineering seismology. Both of these engagements have resulted in his witnessing a parade of facts, concepts, ideas, interpretations, arguments and conclusions relating to the behavior of the earth to generate quakes, to propagate ground motion and to site-modify such. Earthquake hazard analysis is a field populated by strong-minded persons from a huge variety of backgrounds and Reiter’s stated purpose for the book is to provide a basis for understanding and discussing the threat and mitigation of earthquakes. I have been working in this field for more than 20 years, always striving to develop a point of expertise that encompasses all of the various disciplines that are so important to reasonable and accurate means of assessment of the seismic threat. Reiter gives us such an orchestrated glimpse. He has given all of the di~iplines and viewpoints fair coverage of what they can do in hazard analysis and how the various approaches may be limited. Reiter tries to make sense of the rationale advanced by practitioners and researchers, each of whom are naturally biased by their own experiences, successes and limitations. The book is organized in just the way we usually set about seeking the best appro~mation of the truth of earthquake hazard analysis. To have gotten all of the material into a 254-page book is amazing! The book is a roadmap, not a guideline. You do nof learn how to make the award-winning hazard analysis; you do learn to be tolerant of what your peers-of-other-shades have to say. Reiter assists YOU in that understanding, for it appears that he is mainly interested in clearing up errors and ~-1951/92/$05.~

misconceptions and to provide a pathway for inclusion of the various ingredients of seismic hazard analysis. This urge probably has come from the frustrations of having participated in hundreds of hearings seeking to address the seismic threat from a regulatory stand~int, in which the charge is to find and accept the best possible description of the hazard. This is a book that identifies and describes key topics in earthquake hazard analysis. Reiter deals with ideas, concepts and trends in analysis. He explains the advantages, shortcomings and relative utility of these elements of analyses. He does not become bogged down in examining the detail of any particular element. The book has very few mathematical formulae, and well it should not, for that would have been its downfall. Examples of data and data interpretation are presented frequently. My single criticism is broad; very few of Reiter’s examples appear to have been drawn from the hundreds of cases of presentation and discussion that Reiter must have managed or participated in. That is the only regretable fact that I can offer about this book. Reiter has given us the huge benefit of a career constructively spent in “the trenches” of seismic hazard debate, but he has not opened up his vault of case history. Relatively little of the supporting information is cited from other than the open literature, so even though we know that the author’s expertise was forged in a crucible of-regulatory debate, we have to read such between the lines. Workers in the consulting geological and engineering seismological fields have been short-changed a bit by lack of recognition of their work. There is a wealth of citation that could have been provided from the docketed submittals of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as available from the National Technical Information Service.

Q 1992 - Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. All rights reserved



Helpful regional background is utihtzed for discussion throughout the book, all cases from the United States. We do know, however, that regional seismotectonic conditions are broadly similar around the world, so that overseas workers will find significantly useful information here. All that is required is the knowledge and determination to make comparisons between seismotectonic regions and provices on the various continents. The main value of the book, is, as stated by Reiter in his objectives, to bring people together in an understanding of the issues and relativelyaccepted elements of seismic hazard analysis. The author is hugely successful in achieving this goal. The text reads best as a thoughtful menu of ~nside~t~ns that each of us should refer to at the time we are thinking about data collection and analysis and the development and presentation of our conclusions relating to that hazard

Field Geo&3gyof ~~~-G~~ Veriag, ~rlin-~idel~rg,

analysis. If you work in this field you should buy (and use) this book! I spent several hours working through Earthquake Hazard Arwlysk, while riding with Gregory L. Hempen (then President of the Association of Engineering Geologists; otherwise Engineering Seismologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District) from St. Louis, to Chicago, for our Annual Meeting, in September of 1991. Greg was driving and I was reading and commenting about selected pasages and aspects of the book, he was a fountain of returned comment. Greg seems to respect the whole breadth of analytical techniques and works contentedly in probabilistics; I, on the other hand, more profoundly respect the dete~~ti~ method. The di~ussion was st~ulating and, for that fact, I thank Greg. ALLEN W. HATHEWAY (Rolla, MO., USA)

Gneiss Terrains, by C.W. Passchier, J.S, Meyers and A. Kriiner. Springer1990, ix + 150 pp., soft cover, DM29.80 (ISBN ~5~-5~53-3~

Glancing through the outcrop photographs in Fieid Geology of High-Grade Gnkss Terrains, one is struck by the diversity and complexity of Nature. Through their decades of combined experience in such terrains, the authors have accumuiated a wealth of field techniques and illustrative material that is laid out in a very readable format in this highly portable little book. I would recommend it as a field companion for geologists attempting to extract information from torturedlooking gneiss exposures and as a text for advanced structural geology or field-based courses. Although it touches on virtually all aspects of deep-crustal geology, from origin to seismic reflection image, the book’s forte is its _ 70-page core of structural an&y&s, divided into chapters on fabric development and inte~etation of structures and fabrics. The treatment contains only enough theory to introduce terminology and a few basic concepts, then follows with examples, illustrated by schematic diagrams and high-qual-

ity field photographs, from classic high-grade gneiss localities in southern Africa, Antarctica, Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, West Greenland, Scotland, Sri Lanka and Switzerland. Of particular value are the deformation sequence “snapshots” illustrating, schematically and in outcrop, transitions between undeformed and strongly modified rocks, both at the grain scale and macroscopically. Starting with undeformed, clearly igneous rocks such as anorthosite and K-feldspar megacrystic granite, the authors document all of the steps in textural transformations to respectively layered anorthositic gneiss resembling metasedimentary rocks, and augen gneiss. As a North America-based geologist, I was mildly di~~inted in the lack of repre~ntation from the wealth of gneiss studies on this craton, however I found the principles advanced by the authors to be comprehensively demonstrated in the examples chosen. The interpretation chapter contains an up-to-date (1990), albeit brief, expose of