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Open-File Report 2009-1047

Evaluation of Ground-Motion Modeling Techniques for Use in Global ShakeMap—A Critique of Instrumental Ground-Motion Prediction Equations, Peak Ground Motion to Macroseismic Intensity Conversions, and Macroseismic Intensity Predictions in Different Tectonic Settings

By Trevor I. Allen and David J. Wald


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Regional differences in ground-motion attenuation have long been thought to add uncertainty in the prediction of ground motion. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that regional differences in ground-motion attenuation may not be as significant as previously thought and that the key differences between regions may be a consequence of limitations in ground-motion datasets over incomplete magnitude and distance ranges. Undoubtedly, regional differences in attenuation can exist owing to differences in crustal structure and tectonic setting, and these can contribute to differences in ground-motion attenuation at larger source-receiver distances. Herein, we examine the use of a variety of techniques for the prediction of several ground-motion metrics (peak ground acceleration and velocity, response spectral ordinates, and macroseismic intensity) and compare them against a global dataset of instrumental ground-motion recordings and intensity assignments. The primary goal of this study is to determine whether existing ground-motion prediction techniques are applicable for use in the U.S. Geological Survey's Global ShakeMap and Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER). We seek the most appropriate ground-motion predictive technique, or techniques, for each of the tectonic regimes considered: shallow active crust, subduction zone, and stable continental region.

First posted May 27, 2009

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Suggested citation:

Allen, T.I., and Wald, D.J., 2009, Evaluation of ground-motion modeling techniques for use in Global ShakeMap—A critique of instrumental ground-motion prediction equations, peak ground motion to macroseismic intensity conversions, and macroseismic intensity predictions in different tectonic settings: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009–1047, 114 p.



Ground-Motion Datasets

Earthquake Source Parameters and Distance Metrics

Instrumental Ground-Motion Predictions

Peak Ground-Motion-to-Intensity Relations

Macroseismic Intensity Prediction Equations

Discussion and Application for Global ShakeMap


References Cited


Appendix 1 – Active Crustal Instrumental Data

Appendix 2 – Subduction Zone Instrumental Data

Appendix 3 – Stable Continent Instrumental Data

Appendix 4 – Active Crustal Macroseismic Data

Appendix 5 – Subduction Zone Macroseismic Data

Appendix 6 – Stable Continent Macroseismic Data

Appendix 7 – Active Crustal GMPE Magnitude Dependence for PGA

Appendix 8 – Active Crustal GMPE Magnitude Dependence for PGV

Appendix 9 – Magnitude Dependence of the Abrahamson and Silva (2008) GMPE

Appendix 10 – Magnitude Dependence of the Idriss (2008) GMPE

Appendix 11 – Magnitude Dependence of the Cua and Heaton GMPE

Appendix 12 – Subduction Zone GMPE Magnitude Dependence for PGA

Appendix 13 – Subduction Zone GMPE Magnitude Dependence for PGV

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