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Research lines

Seismic Hazard Assessment and Ground Motion Characterisation.

Seismic hazard assessment and ground motion characterisation. Many specific studies and methodological approaches are carried out in a variety of settings: different geographical areas (Iberian Peninsula, Central America), different project scopes (relatedto nuclear facilities, specific earthquake events, earthquake-ressitant design scenarios) and different working scales (local and regional).

Land planning and urban planning in areas of seismic risk

Territorial planning and urban planning are public functions that organize and define the use of land. Contemplating natural risks in urban and territorial planning is a step forward in the zoning of the territory, classifying the land, defining the uses and assigning constructive typologies. In areas of seismic risk, good urban planning can reduce damage to buildings after an earthquake by configuring less vulnerable cities.
This line of research studies the urban and architectural configurations that influence the generation of seismic vulnerability through the identification of the urban parameters that generate this vulnerability. Once these urbanistic parameters have been identified and characterized, we examine the greater or lesser relationship they can have with the damage. With the results obtained, the Urban Planning Regulations of the General Urban Planning Plans of the cities that are located in seismic zones can be affected. In this way the seismic vulnerability of the cities will be reduced and Official local, regional and state agencies will be assisted in the planning of an emergency response and recovery from possible future earthquakes.

Seismic risk assessment

Seismic risk assessment comprises the evaluation of expected earthquake ground motions (seismic action), seismic vulnerability distribution of exposed elements (conventional dwellings, special-importance structures, infrastructures, etc. ) and the distributions of expected damage and related losses (human and material). The actual approach used depends on the scale of the study.  For regional studies, seismic hazard for a reference return period of 500 years is used as seismic action; standard empirical, semiqualitative  vulnerability and damage methods are used. For local studies, ground motions related to specific earthquake scenarios, analytical methods to vulnerability and damage estimation (capacity/demand spectrum method or similar capacity and fragility models) are used.

Geodynamics. Crustal Deformation Measured by GPS Techniques.

Ground deformation around active fault systems is detected by comparing GPS measurements obtained in different surveys. The design of the network, the organization of campaigns and the processing and interpretation of results in the context of local tectonics and kinematics and regional geodynamics are accomplished. This work  is done in cooperation with local researchers.

Exposure and seismic vulnerability assessment using remote sensing techniques

Applying an innovative methodology based on the combination of LiDAR points with multispectral images (satellite or aerial), it is possible to detect, delineate and characterize the buildings of a city. Based on this information, supplemented with other data sources, such as the cadastre and field campaigns for sampling, the seismic vulnerability and exposure database is obtained, which is one of the inputs of seismic risk studies.

Induced seismicity analysis

This new line of research is aimed at the study and monitoring of seismicity associated with human activities, as well as the analysis of the spatio-temporal evolution of seismic series from a physical and statistical point of view. The final objective pursued is to be able to evaluate seismic hazards including induced seismicity.
So far, the research group has participated in one of the studies aimed at the analysis of induced seismicity and its incidence in seismic hazards associated with the Castor project. Likewise, it has elaborated the project "Estimation of earthquake losses including cases of induced seismicity" (approved and financed by Mapfre) focused on the analysis of the evolution of the Torreperogil series.


The research team is also integrated in the UPM Cooperation Group  GEOALERTA. This group, also led by Dr B. Benito, is carrying out research and execution studies oriented to cooperation for development and mitigation of adverse effects of natural disasters in Central America and Caribe, principaly.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applied to Earthquake Engineering.

Research line oriented to the design and development of GIS for seismic hazard and seismic risk applications. Additionally, thematic map collections and web -based visualizing tools are produced to display and disseminate results.