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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 78–509

Prepared on behalf of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Estimation of Ground Motion Parameters

By David M. Boore, Adolph A. Oliver III, Robert A. Page, and William B. Joyner

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (41.8 MB) Abstract

Strong motion data from western North America for earthquakes of magnitude greater than 5 are examined to provide the basis for estimating peak acceleration, velocity, displacement, and duration as a function of distance for three magnitude classes. Data from the San Fernando earthquake are examined to assess the effects of associated structures and of geologic site conditions on peak recorded motions. Small but statistically significant differences are observed in peak values of horizontal acceleration, velocity, and displacement recorded on soil at the base of small structures compared with values recorded at the base of large structures. Values of peak horizontal acceleration recorded at soil sites in the San Fernando earthquake are not significantly different from the values recorded at rock sites, but values of peak horizontal velocity and displacement are significantly greater at soil sites than at rock sites. Three recently published relationships for predicting peak horizontal acceleration are compared and discussed. Considerations are reviewed relevant to ground motion predictions at close distances where there are insufficient recorded data points.

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Contact Information, Earthquake Science Center, Menlo Park Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS 977
Menlo Park, California 94025

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Suggested citation:

Boore, D.M., Oliver, A.A., III, Page, R.A., and Joyner, W.B., 1978, Estimation of ground motion parameters: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 78–509, 145 p., available at




Data Characteristics and Methods of Presentation

All Earthquakes

The San Fernando Earthquake

Previously Published Curves for Peak Acceleration

Estimation of Peak Parameters at Short Distances



2 appendixes

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