Abstract

Macroseismic intensities play a key role in the engineering, seismological, and loss modeling communities. However, at present, there is an increasing demand for instrumental data‐based loss estimations that require statistical relationships between intensities and strong‐motion data. In New Zealand, there was an urgent need to update the ground motion to intensity conversion equation (GMICE) from 2007, developed prior to a large number of recent earthquakes including the 2010–2011 Canterbury and 2016 Kaikōura earthquake sequences. Two main factors now provide us with the opportunity to update New Zealand’s GMICE: (1) recent publication of New Zealand’s Strong‐Motion Database, corresponding to 276 New Zealand earthquakes with magnitudes 3.5–7.8 and 4–185 km depths; and (2) recent generation of a community intensity database from GeoNet’s “Felt Classic” (2004–2016) and “Felt Detailed” (2016–2019) questionnaires, corresponding to around 930,000 individual reports. Ground‐motion data types analyzed are peak ground velocity (PGV) and peak ground acceleration (PGA). The intensity database contains 67,572 felt reports from 917 earthquakes, with magnitudes 3.5–8.1, and 1797 recordings from 247 strong‐motion stations (SMSs), with hypocentral distances of 5–345 km. Different regression analyses were tested, and the bilinear regression of binned mean strong‐motion recordings for 0.5 modified Mercalli intensity bins was selected as the most appropriate. Total least squares regression was chosen for reversibility in the conversions. PGV provided the best‐fitting results, with lower standard deviations. The influence of hypocentral distance, earthquake magnitude, and the site effects of local geology, represented by the mean shear‐wave velocity in the first 30 m depth, on the residuals was also explored. A regional correction factor for New Zealand, suitable for adjustment of global relationships, has also been estimated.

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