We have developed regression relationships between Modified Mercalli Intensity (Imm) and peak ground acceleration (PGA) and velocity (PGV) by comparing horizontal peak ground motions to observed intensities for eight significant California earthquakes. For the limited range of Modified Mercalli intensities (Imm), we find that for peak acceleration with V ≤ Imm ≤ VIII, Imm = 3.66 log(PGA) − 1.66, and for peak velocity with V ≤ Imm ≤ IX, Imm = 3.47 log(PGV) + 2.35. From comparison with observed intensity maps, we find that a combined regression based on peak velocity for intensity > VII and on peak acceleration for intensity < VII is most suitable for reproducing observed Imm patterns, consistent with high intensities being related to damage (proportional to ground velocity) and with lower intensities determined by felt accounts (most sensitive to higher-frequency ground acceleration). These new Imm relationships are significantly different from the Trifunac and Brady (1975) correlations, which have been used extensively in loss estimation.

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