Rapid epicentral distance estimation is of great significance for earthquake early warning (EEW). To rapidly and reliably predict epicentral distance, we developed machine learning models with multiple feature inputs for epicentral distance estimation using a single station and explored the feasibility of three machine learning methods, namely, Random Forest, eXtreme Gradient Boosting, and Support Vector Machine, for epicentral distance estimation. We used strong‐motion data recorded by the Japanese Kyoshin network within a range of 1° (∼112 km) from the epicenter to train machine learning models. We used 30 features extracted from the P‐wave signal as inputs to the machine learning models and the epicentral distance as the prediction target of the models. For the same test data set, within 0.1–5 s after the P‐wave arrival, the epicentral distance estimation results of these three machine learning models were similar. Furthermore, these three machine learning methods can obtain smaller mean absolute errors and root mean square errors, as well as larger coefficients of determination (R2), for epicentral distance estimation than traditional EEW epicentral distance estimation methods, indicating that these three machine learning models can effectively improve the accuracy of epicentral distance estimation to a certain extent. In addition, we analyzed the importance of different features as inputs to machine learning models using SHapley additive exPlanations. We found that using the top 15 important features as inputs, these three machine learning models can also achieve good results for epicentral distance estimation. Based on our results, we inferred that the machine learning models for estimating epicentral distance proposed in this study are meaningful in EEW.

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