Abstract

Considering the increasing number and complexity of ground-motion prediction equations available for seismic hazard assessment, there is a definite need for an efficient, quantitative, and robust method to select and rank these models for a particular region of interest. In a recent article, Scherbaum et al. (2009) have suggested an information-theoretic approach for this purpose that overcomes several shortcomings of earlier attempts at using data-driven ground-motion prediction equation selection procedures. The results of their theoretical study provides evidence that in addition to observed response spectra, macroseismic intensity data might be useful for model selection and ranking. We present here an applicability study for this approach using response spectra and macroseismic intensities from eight Californian earthquakes. A total of 17 ground-motion prediction equations, from different regions, for response spectra, combined with the equation of Atkinson and Kaka (2007) for macroseismic intensities are tested for their relative performance. The resulting data-driven rankings show that the models that best estimate ground motion in California are, as one would expect, Californian and western U.S. models, while some European models also perform fairly well. Moreover, the model performance appears to be strongly dependent on both distance and frequency. The relative information of intensity versus response spectral data is also explored. The strong correlation we obtain between intensity-based rankings and spectral-based ones demonstrates the great potential of macroseismic intensities data for model selection in the context of seismic hazard assessment.

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