Ensemble ShakeMaps for magnitude 9 earthquakes on the Cascadia Subduction Zone

Seismological Research Letters
By: , and 



We develop ensemble ShakeMaps for various magnitude 9 (MM 9) earthquakes on the Cascadia megathrust. Ground‐shaking estimates are based on 30 MM 9 Cascadia earthquake scenarios, which were selected using a logic‐tree approach that varied the hypocenter location, down‐dip rupture limit, slip distribution, and location of strong‐motion‐generating subevents. In a previous work, Frankel et al. (2018) used a hybrid approach (i.e., 3D deterministic simulations for frequencies <1  Hz<1  Hz and stochastic synthetics for frequencies >1  Hz>1  Hz) and uniform site amplification factors to create broadband seismograms from this set of 30 earthquake scenarios. Here, we expand on this work by computing site‐specific amplification factors for the Pacific Northwest and applying these factors to the ground‐motion estimates derived from Frankel et al. (2018). In addition, we use empirical ground‐motion models (GMMs) to expand the ground‐shaking estimates beyond the original model extent of Frankel et al. (2018) to cover all of Washington State, Oregon, northern California, and southern British Columbia to facilitate the use of these ensemble ShakeMaps in region‐wide risk assessments and scenario planning exercises. Using this updated set of 30 MM 9 Cascadia earthquake scenarios, we present ensemble ShakeMaps for the median, 2nd, 16th, 84th, and 98th percentile ground‐motion intensity measures. Whereas traditional scenario ShakeMaps are based on a single hypothetical earthquake rupture, our ensemble ShakeMaps take advantage of a logic‐tree approach to estimating ground motions from multiple earthquake rupture scenarios. In addition, 3D earthquake simulations capture important features such as strong ground‐motion amplification in the Pacific Northwest’s sedimentary basins, which are not well represented in the empirical GMMs that compose traditional scenario ShakeMaps. Overall, our results highlight the importance of strong‐motion‐generating subevents for coastal sites, as well as the amplification of long‐period ground shaking in deep sedimentary basins, compared with previous scenario ShakeMaps for Cascadia.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Ensemble ShakeMaps for magnitude 9 earthquakes on the Cascadia Subduction Zone
Series title Seismological Research Letters
DOI 10.1785/0220200240
Edition Online First
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Seismological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Country United States
State California, Oregon, Washington
Other Geospatial Cascadia Subduction Zone
Google Analytics Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details