The Mw 7.1 Hector Mine earthquake of October 16, 1999 was recorded by more than 300 stations of TriNet, which is administered cooperatively by the California Division of Mines and Geology's California Strong Motion Instrumentation Program (CDMG/CSMIP), California Institute of Technology, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The earthquake occurred in a remote part of the Mojave Desert, approximately 190 km northeast of downtown Los Angeles, and there were no strong-motion stations close to the surface rupture. The nearest station, Hector, is about 27 km north of the epicenter; it recorded a peak horizontal ground acceleration of 0.33g. The two next closest stations, Amboy and Joshua Tree, are to the east and south, both at epicentral distances of about 50 km; each recorded peak ground accelerations of about 0.2g. The new digital instruments installed for the TriNet project recorded a large set of reliable data at epicentral distances up to 275 km. These data can significantly improve empirical peak ground motion attenuation relationships, which are usually developed for distances only up to 100 km (Boore et al., 1993, 1997) because adequate data have not been available at greater distances.
Hector Mine peak ground motions demonstrate reasonable agreement with empirical attenuation relationships for acceleration. In contrast, higher than expected ground velocities and displacements were recorded at epicentral distances of about 150 to 220 km, especially in the Los Angeles sedimentary basin, where anomalously high-amplitude displacements with periods of 6 to 7 sec were recorded in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and other areas. These long-period surface- or basin-generated waves can have significant effects on large structures.
The Mw 7.3 Landers earthquake of 1992 similarly produced strong, long-period waves in the basin. The peak ground motions produced by the Landers earthquake were on average 1.6 times higher than for the Hector Mine earthquake in the Los Angeles area.
Ground-motion data recorded by digital instruments were uniformly processed in the frequency band 0.067 to 46 Hz (0.022–15 sec). The processed data set includes records from 213 ground-response stations. In an effort to make strong-motion data available quickly to the engineering and scientific communities, important records from this event were made available by file transfer protocol (ftp) beginning the day of the earthquake.