Ground motion simulation validation is an important and necessary task toward establishing the efficacy of physics-based ground motion simulations for seismic hazard analysis and earthquake engineering applications. This article presents a comprehensive validation of the commonly used Graves and Pitarka hybrid broadband ground motion simulation methodology with a recently developed three-dimensional (3D) Canterbury Velocity Model. This is done through simulation of 148 small magnitude earthquake events in the Canterbury, New Zealand, region in order to supplement prior validation efforts directed at several larger magnitude events. Recent empirical ground motion models are also considered to benchmark the simulation predictive capability, which is examined by partitioning the prediction residuals into the various components of ground motion variability. Biases identified in source, path, and site components suggest that improvements to the predictive capabilities of the simulation methodology can be made by using a longer high-frequency path duration model, reducing empirical Vs30-based low-frequency site amplification, and utilizing site-specific velocity models in the high-frequency simulations.

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