Improving Distance Metrics in Ground Motion Prediction Equations Based with Seismic Array Back-Projections

Lingsen Meng, & Tian Feng

Submitted August 15, 2017, SCEC Contribution #7800, 2017 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #256

Traditional Ground Motion Prediction Equations (GMPEs) measure the distances either relative to the epicenter (Repi) or the hypocenter (Rhyp) assuming point-sources, or relative to the closest point of the fault rupture (Rrup) or its surface projection (Rjb) to account for finite earthquake dimensions. However, it has long been proven that for large megathrust earthquakes (M>8), the over-simplification of the earthquake source characteristics in these distance metrics result in significant bias and uncertainty of the ground motion predictions. Recent advances in earthquake source imaging of major subduction earthquakes highlight the frequency-dependent and depth-varying seismic radiations at the plate interfaces. Low-frequency energy mainly emanated from the shallower portion of the megathrusts while dominant high-frequency energy often radiates from the deeper portion of the megathrust. In the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake, all these distance metrics produce severe biases, underestimating the ground accelerations at short distances (<100km) and overestimating them at long distances (>100km). This phenomenon motivates an alternative distance metric based on the array back-projection (BP) technique that effectively captures regions releasing high-frequency energy. Herein, we define Rbp as the distance between nearest BP radiators and the station sites. We studied five large earthquakes in Japan, and found that Rbp outperforms conventional distance metrics in predicting the Psa (Pseudo Spectral Acceleration) in the high-frequency band (0.5-4 Hz). And at low frequencies (0.1-0.5Hz), we find that Rhyp produces better fits to the Psa spectrum. Thus, we propose to combine Rhyp and Rbp in low-frequency (0.1-0.5Hz) and high-frequency (0.5-4 Hz) range to improve the GMPEs. We consider that Rbp reflects the high-frequency characters of the rupture that are complementary to conventional GMPE distance metrics and a more suitable ground motion predictors in many cases.

Key Words
GMPE, back-projection

Meng, L., & Feng, T. (2017, 08). Improving Distance Metrics in Ground Motion Prediction Equations Based with Seismic Array Back-Projections. Poster Presentation at 2017 SCEC Annual Meeting.

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