Evaluation of intensity prediction equations (IPEs) for small-magnitude earthquakes

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
By: , and 



This study assesses existing intensity prediction equations (IPEs) for small unspecified magnitude (M ≤3.5) earthquakes at short hypocentral distances (Dh) and explores such earthquakes’ contribution to the felt shaking hazard. In particular, we consider IPEs by Atkinson and Wald (2007) and Atkinson et al. (2014), and evaluate their performance based on “Did You Feel It” (DYFI) reports and recorded peak ground velocities (PGVs) in the central United States. Both IPEs were developed based on DYFI reports in the central and eastern United States with moment magnitudes above Mw 3.0. DYFI reports are often used as the ground truth when evaluating and developing IPEs, but they could be less reliable when there are limited responses for small‐magnitude earthquakes. We first compare the DYFI reports with intensities interpolated from recorded PGVs. Results suggest a minimal discrepancy between the two when the intensity is large enough to be felt (i.e., M >2 and Dh<15  km). We then compare intensities from 31,617 DYFI reports of 3049 earthquakes with the two IPEs. Results suggest that both the IPEs match well with observed intensities for 2.0< M <3.0 and Dh<10  km, but the IPE by Atkinson et al. (2014) matches better for larger distances. We also observe that intensities from DYFI reports attenuate faster compared with the two IPEs, especially for distances greater than 10 km. We then group DYFI reports by inferred VS30 as a proxy for site amplification effects. We observe that intensities at sites with VS30 around 300 m/s are consistently higher than at sites with VS30 around 700 m/s and are also closer to the two IPEs. Finally, we conduct hazard disaggregation for earthquakes at close distances (Dh=7.5  km) using the observed records. Results suggest that earthquakes with magnitudes below M 3.0 contribute more than 40% to the occurrence of felt shaking.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evaluation of intensity prediction equations (IPEs) for small-magnitude earthquakes
Series title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
DOI 10.1785/0120210150
Volume 112
Issue 1
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher Seismological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 15 p.
First page 316
Last page 330
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details