We investigate near‐field ground‐motion variability by computing the seismic wavefield for five kinematic unilateral‐rupture models of the 1992 Mw 7.3 Landers earthquake, eight simplified unilateral‐rupture models based on the Landers event, and a large Mw 7.8 ShakeOut scenario. We include the geometrical fault complexity and consider different 1D velocity–density profiles for the Landers simulations and a 3D heterogeneous Earth structure for the ShakeOut scenario. For the Landers earthquake, the computed waveforms are validated using strong‐motion recordings. We analyze the simulated ground‐motion data set in terms of distance and azimuth dependence of peak ground velocity (PGV).

Our simulations reveal that intraevent ground‐motion variability forumla is higher in close distances to the fault (<20  km) and decreases with increasing distance following a power law. This finding is in stark contrast to constant sigma‐values used in empirical ground‐motion prediction equations. The physical explanation of a large near‐field forumla is the presence of strong directivity and rupture complexity. High values of forumla occur in the rupture‐propagation direction, but small values occur in the direction perpendicular to it. We observe that the power‐law decay of forumla is primarily controlled by slip heterogeneity. In addition, forumla, as function of azimuth, is sensitive to variations in both rupture speed and slip heterogeneity. The azimuth dependence of the ground‐motion mean μln(PGV) is well described by a Cauchy–Lorentz function that provides a novel empirical quantification to model the spatial dependency of ground motion.

Online Material: Figures of slip distributions, residuals to ground‐motion prediction equations (GMPEs), distance and azimuthal dependence, and directivity predictor of ground‐motion variability for different source models.

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