Strong motion data from western North America for earthquakes of magnitude greater than 5 are examined to provide the basis for estimating peak acceleration, velocity, displacement, and duration as a function of distance for three magnitude classes. Data from the San Fernando earthquake are examined to assess the effects of associated structures and of geologic site conditions on peak recorded motions. Small but statistically significant differences are observed in peak values of horizontal acceleration, velocity, and displacement recorded on soil at the base of small structures compared with values recorded at the base of large structures. Values of peak horizontal acceleration recorded at soil sites in the San Fernando earthquake are not significantly different from the values recorded at rock sites, but values of peak horizontal velocity and displacement are significantly greater at soil sites than at rock sites. Three recently published relationships for predicting peak horizontal acceleration are compared and discussed. Considerations are reviewed relevant to ground motion predictions at close distances where there are insufficient recorded data points.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Estimation of ground motion parameters
U.S. Geological Survey
Menlo Park Science Center, Earthquake Science Center