ABSTRACT

Peak ground velocity (PGV) is a commonly used parameter in earthquake ground‐motion models (GMMs) and hazard analyses, because it is closely related to structural damage and felt ground shaking, and is typically measured on broadband seismometers. Here, we demonstrate that strainmeters, which directly measure in situ strain in the bulk rock, can easily be related to ground velocity by a factor of bulk shear‐wave velocity and, thus, can be used to measure strain‐estimated PGV. We demonstrate the parity of velocity to strain utilizing data from borehole strainmeters deployed along the plate boundaries of the west coast of the United States for nine recent M 4.4–7.1 earthquakes in California, including the largest two events of the July 2019 Ridgecrest earthquake sequence. PGVs derived from maximum horizontal shear strains fall within the range of seismic‐estimated values recorded at the same distances. We compare the strain‐estimated data with GMMs based on seismic PGVs and find consistency in residual polarity (positive vs. negative; the sign of the difference between observed and modeled data) for certain earthquake–station paths, where some paths indicate an overestimation and others indicate an underestimation of strain‐derived PGVs, as compared with the GMMs. We surmise that this may be indicative of over or underestimation of shear‐wave velocity along those paths, as compared with the average velocity used to derive PGV from strain measurements, or indicative of repeatable site and path effects that are not accounted for in our analyses. This direct comparison of strain with velocity can highlight physical path effects, as well as improve the density and capability of ground‐motion recordings.

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