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Open-File Report 2008–1236

An Atlas of ShakeMaps for Selected Global Earthquakes

By T.I. Allen, D.J. Wald, A.J. Hotovec, K.Lin, P.S. Earle, and K.D. Marano

Abstract Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (30.2 MB)

An atlas of maps of peak ground motions and intensity “ShakeMaps” has been developed for almost 5,000 recent and historical global earthquakes. These maps are produced using established ShakeMap methodology (Wald and others, 1999c; Wald and others, 2005) and constraints from macroseismic intensity data, instrumental ground motions, regional topographically-based site amplifications, and published earthquake-rupture models. Applying the ShakeMap methodology allows a consistent approach to combine point observations with ground-motion predictions to produce descriptions of peak ground motions and intensity for each event. We also calculate an estimated ground-motion uncertainty grid for each earthquake.

The Atlas of ShakeMaps provides a consistent and quantitative description of the distribution and intensity of shaking for recent global earthquakes (1973–2007) as well as selected historic events. As such, the Atlas was developed specifically for calibrating global earthquake loss estimation methodologies to be used in the U.S. Geological Survey Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) Project. PAGER will employ these loss models to rapidly estimate the impact of global earthquakes as part of the USGS National Earthquake Information Center’s earthquake-response protocol.

The development of the Atlas of ShakeMaps has also led to several key improvements to the Global ShakeMap system. The key upgrades include: addition of uncertainties in the ground motion mapping, introduction of modern ground-motion prediction equations, improved estimates of global seismic-site conditions (VS30), and improved definition of stable continental region polygons. Finally, we have merged all of the ShakeMaps in the Atlas to provide a global perspective of earthquake ground shaking for the past 35 years, allowing comparison with probabilistic hazard maps. The online Atlas and supporting databases can be found at

Version 1.0

Posted August 2008

Suggested citation:

Allen, T.I., Wald, D.J., Hotovec, A.J., Lin, K., Earle, P.S. and Marano, K.D., 2008, An Atlas of ShakeMaps for Selected Global Earthquakes: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008–1236, 35 p.




Selection of Events

Earthquake Observations & Constraints

Finite-Fault Dimensions

Instrumental Ground Motions

Macroseismic Intensities

Ground-Motion Estimation

Tectonic Regime

Relationships between Peak Ground-Motions and Intensities

Ground-Motion Prediction Equations Used

Regional Site Response Corrections

Putting it all Together—Constructing a ShakeMap

Quantifying Ground-Motion Uncertainties

Quantitative Shaking Uncertainty Calculations

Qualitative Uncertainty Assignments

ShakeMap Atlas Products

Composite Global ShakeMap



References Cited


Appendix I – List of Calibrated ShakeMaps

Appendix II – References to Atlas Data Sources

Appendix III – Complete List of Atlas Events


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