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Online Training - Geohazards: Seismic and Tsunami Hazards

29 June 2021
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Event type:
Contributes to CPD, Lecture, Online Training
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Geological Society Events
Virtual event
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Geohazards Lecture Series presents Seismic and Tsunami Hazards by Dr. Bill Murphy (Seismic) and Dr. David Giles (Tsunami and briefly Volcanic)

Start time: 17.00 hrs

The United Kingdom is an area of low to moderate earthquake activity and as such there is a requirement for the assessment of seismic hazard for some elements of infrastructure. A good historical catalogue of events dating back to 13th Century allows a reasonable understanding of the distribution of seismicity both spatially and temporally, although the precision of epicentral locations is poorly constrained for older events. This limitation is in common with other earthquake catalogues. While, the location and recurrence of earthquake activity is a key input to the assessment of seismic hazard, it is not what engineers typically use for design purposes. 
During the presentation, I will focus on the distribution of seismic activity in the United Kingdom and explore the controlling processes that are likely to control hazard over the design life of critical infrastructure. The limitations on data will be discussed along with some of the uncertainties in terms of magnitude and epicentral determinations in the UK catalogue. The challenges associated with understanding the impact of small magnitude nearfield events will also be outlined. Considerations of triggered/induced earthquakes will also be included. In addition to the broad UK seismicity distribution, site conditions will be discussed to allow the practitioner to recognise potential problems relating to soil or topographic amplification. Earthquake induced ground failure will be discussed to allow the recognition of when such phenomena need to be considered as a hazard. The characterisation of ground motions will be discussed as will tools available to make preliminary considerations of shaking. 

Tsunami present a significant geohazard to coastal and water-body marginal communities worldwide. Tsunami describes a series of waves that, once generated, travel across open water with exceptionally long wavelengths and with very high velocities before shortening and slowing on arrival at a coastal zone. Upon reaching land, these waves can have a devastating effect on the people and infrastructure in those environments. With over 12 000 km of coastline, the British Isles is vulnerable to the tsunami hazard. A significant number of potential tsunami source areas are present around the entire landmass, from plate tectonic boundaries off the Iberian Peninsula to the major submarine landslides in the northern North Sea to more localized coastal cliff instability which again has the potential to generate a tsunami.

Speakers - Dr Bill Murphy and Dr David Giles

Bill Murphy is an engineering geologist of almost 30 years of experience in research and training in Engineering Geology. His expertise is in landslides generally, but specifically those triggered by earthquakes. He has worked extensively on understanding ground motions driving slope instability and has experience in areas affected by strong earthquakes in Taiwan, El Salvador and New Zealand. He has also worked in the central and eastern Mediterranean, Hong Kong, Chile and Colombia. In terms of non-seismically related work, Bill has worked on aspects of landslide hazard, rock engineering and the development of conceptual models. He has worked as a consultant on a selection of industrial projects. He was a co-author on the recent CIRIA Guide on Rock Netting and is currently working with colleagues to develop the forthcoming guide to management of natural slopes. The speaker has been a member of the editorial boards of Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology and Geotechnique. He currently sits on the editorial board of Engineering Geology.

Dr David Giles is Card Geotechnics Ltd’s Digital Imagery Consultant with over 35 years’ experience in academia and the Engineering Geology and Geotechnics industry. His experience includes 28 years lecturing and researching in Engineering Geology in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Portsmouth. Dr Giles is an active member of the Engineering Group of the Geological Society of London, a past Chair and an active member of Geological Society Working Parties including UK Geological Hazards, which he chairs and the Engineering Geology and Geomorphology of Glaciated and Periglaciated Terrains.


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