Abstract

The Chi-Chi earthquake occurred at 17:47 on 20 September 1999 and is the largest earthquake (MW 7.6) to have occurred on land in Taiwan in the twentieth century. This earthquake caused considerable damage and was named the “921 Chi-Chi Great Earthquake” by the Taiwan government, as the local date was 21 September. Because an extensive strong-motion instrumentation program in Taiwan was completed by the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) in 1996, over 30,000 digital strong-motion records have been obtained from the Chi-Chi earthquake and thousands of its aftershocks. These records form the largest set of strong-motion data recorded from a major earthquake since strong-motion seismology studies began in the 1930s. This data set is important to seismology and earthquake engineering because it includes over 60 recording sites within 20 km of the fault ruptures, which provides a five-fold increase of such near-field records available for the entire world.

A prepublication CD was made available in mid-December 1999, and the data on it have been used by many authors in dozens of articles published so far. Since then, we examined about 10,000 strong-motion records and conducted a first-order quality assurance procedure for all the records obtained on 20 September 1999, including the mainshock and hundreds of the early aftershocks. We performed extensive data processing for quality assurance and selected a total of 663 strong-motion data files from 441 accelerographs to construct strong-motion records up to 4-min long for the mainshock whenever possible. In this article, we present a brief description of the processed acceleration data from the Chi-Chi earthquake. The data set (about 500 megabytes) and an extensive 562-page report (documenting the data processing and results of the processed data) are archived on the attached CD in this Special Issue so that users can quickly access this valuable data set for their research.

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