Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis in low-seismicity regions: An investigation of sensitivity with a focus on Finland

Ludovic Fülöp, Päivi Mäntyniemi (Corresponding Author), Marianne Malm, Gabriel Toro, María J. Crespo, Timo Schmitt, Simon Burck, Pekka Välikangas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


We investigate probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) in low-seismicity regions in which epistemic uncertainties are largely due to the sparsity of data, with a focus on Finland, northern Europe. We investigate the sensitivity of site-specific PSHA outcomes to different choices of basic input parameters, starting from preexisting PSHA models of the nuclear licensees in the country, without producing a final hazard curve. The outcome shows that the parameters and models needed to estimate future seismicity rates from actual observations, in particular the b value, seismicity rates, and the largest possible magnitude, Mmax, as well as the median ground-motion prediction equation, play significant roles. The sensitivity also depends on the spectral frequency; for example, the effect of Mmax is significant especially for a low-frequency hazard at annual frequency of exceedance 10−5 but more moderate for peak ground acceleration. The delineation of seismic source zones (SSZs) remains ambiguous in regions of low seismicity. This, combined with the dominance of the host SSZ and its seismicity parameters, may have a substantial impact on the outcome. Our results are quantitatively applicable to Finland, but may also be of relevance to other low-seismicity regions in Europe and elsewhere. For future work we recommend the exploration of PSHA sensitivity with focus on the host SSZ with its immediate vicinity and the b value around the site of interest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-132
Number of pages22
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Finland
  • Low-seismicity regions
  • Nuclear power plant
  • Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis
  • Sensitivity investigation


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