This study investigates the effects of using different finite-fault source models in evaluating rupture distances for megathrust subduction earthquakes. The uncertainty of the calculated rupture distances affects interpretation of the recorded ground motions significantly. To demonstrate this from an empirical perspective, ground motion data and available finite-fault models for the 2011 M9.0 Tohoku, 2003 M8.3 Tokachi-oki, and 2005 M7.2 Miyagi-oki earthquakes are analyzed. The impact of different finite-fault models on the development of ground motion prediction equations for these large subduction events is significant. Importantly, the results suggest that comparison of observed ground motion data with existing ground motion prediction models is not straightforward; different conclusions may be reached regarding agreement/disagreement between empirical data and developed models, depending on the selected finite-fault model. These results are particularly relevant to the development of ground motion prediction equations for subduction regions.

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