The great subduction earthquakes that occurred recently in Peru, Chile, and Japan have provided unprecedented information about the ground motions generated by such earthquakes. The 23 June 2001 M 8.4 Peru earthquake was recorded at eight strong-motion stations; the 27 February 2010 M 8.8 Maule, Chile, earthquake was recorded at over 10 strong-motion stations; and the 11 March 2011 M 9.0 Tohoku, Japan, earthquake was recorded at more than a thousand stations and produced the most extensive dataset of recordings for any earthquake. For the first time, data are available to guide the generation of ground-motion simulations from great subduction earthquakes. Broadband ground-motion simulations can enhance the usefulness of the recordings of these earthquakes by providing a means of interpolating and extrapolating the recorded data. Once they have been validated, broadband ground-motion simulations can be used for forward predictions of the ground motions of great subduction events in regions such as Cascadia, in which there are no strong-motion recordings of large subduction earthquakes.

In this study, we test our ability to use a hybrid method to simulate broadband strong-motion recordings of megathrust earthquakes by demonstrating that our simulations reproduce the amplitudes of the recorded ground motions without systematic bias. We use simulations to study the distribution of various intensity measures of ground motion caused by these earthquakes and to validate our ground-motion simulation method by comparing the simulated ground motions with recorded ground motions as well as with empirical ground-motion prediction models.

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