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Open-File Report 2007–1175

Seismic Hazard Maps for Seattle, Washington, Incorporating 3D Sedimentary Basin Effects, Nonlinear Site Response, and Rupture Directivity

By Arthur D. Frankel, William J. Stephenson, David L. Carver, Robert A. Williams, Jack K. Odum, and Susan Rhea

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This report presents probabilistic seismic hazard maps for Seattle, Washington, based on over 500 3D simulations of ground motions from scenario earthquakes. These maps include 3D sedimentary basin effects and rupture directivity. Nonlinear site response for soft-soil sites of fill and alluvium was also applied in the maps. The report describes the methodology for incorporating source and site dependent amplification factors into a probabilistic seismic hazard calculation. 3D simulations were conducted for the various earthquake sources that can affect Seattle: Seattle fault zone, Cascadia subduction zone, South Whidbey Island fault, and background shallow and deep earthquakes. The maps presented in this document used essentially the same set of faults and distributed-earthquake sources as in the 2002 national seismic hazard maps. The 3D velocity model utilized in the simulations was validated by modeling the amplitudes and waveforms of observed seismograms from five earthquakes in the region, including the 2001 M6.8 Nisqually earthquake. The probabilistic seismic hazard maps presented here depict 1 Hz response spectral accelerations with 10%, 5%, and 2% probabilities of exceedance in 50 years. The maps are based on determinations of seismic hazard for 7236 sites with a spacing of 280 m.

The maps show that the most hazardous locations for this frequency band (around 1 Hz) are soft-soil sites (fill and alluvium) within the Seattle basin and along the inferred trace of the frontal fault of the Seattle fault zone. The next highest hazard is typically found for soft-soil sites in the Duwamish Valley south of the Seattle basin. In general, stiff-soil sites in the Seattle basin exhibit higher hazard than stiff-soil sites outside the basin. Sites with shallow bedrock outside the Seattle basin have the lowest estimated hazard for this frequency band.

Version 1.0

Posted July 2007

  • Plate 1 PDF (50 MB)
  • Seismic hazard map of Seattle, Washington, 1 Hz Spectral Acceleration with 2% Probability of Exceedance in 50 Years.
  • Plate 2 PDF (50 MB)
  • Seismic hazard map of Seattle, Washington, 1 Hz Spectral Acceleration with 5% Probability of Exceedance in 50 Years.
  • Plate 3 PDF (49 MB)
  • Seismic hazard map of Seattle, Washington, 1 Hz Spectral Acceleration with 10% Probability of Exceedance in 50 Years.

Suggested citation:

Frankel, A.D., Stephenson, W.J., Carver, D.L., Williams, R.A., Odum, J.K, and Rhea, S., 2007, Seismic hazard maps for Seattle, Washington, incorporating 3D sedimentary basin effects, nonlinear site response, and rupture directivity: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007-1175, 77 p., 3 pls.

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