Publication Date



Technical Report: UTEP-CS-18-80


Economies of countries located in seismic zones are strongly effected by this seismicity. If we underestimate the seismic activity, then a reasonably routine earthquake can severely damage the existing structures and thus, lead to huge economic losses. On the other hand, if we overestimate the seismic activity, we waste a lot of resources on unnecessarily fortifying all the buildings -- and this too harms the economies. From this viewpoint, it is desirable to have estimations of regional seismic activities which are as accurate as possible. Current predictions are mostly based on the standard geophysical understanding of earthquakes as being largely caused by the movement of tectonic plates and terranes. This understanding works in most areas, but in Bhutan area of the Himalayas region, there seems to be a landscape anomaly. As a result, for this region, we have less confidence in the accuracy of seismic predictions based on the standard understanding and thus, have to use higher seismic thresholds in construction. In this paper, we find the optimal description of landscape-describing elevation profiles, and we use this description to show that the seeming anomaly is actually in perfect agreement with the standard understanding of the seismic activity. Our conclusion is that it is safe to apply, in this region, estimates based on the standard understanding and thus, avoid unnecessary expenses caused by an increased threshold.