Implications of the Mw9.0 Tohoku-oki earthquake for ground motion scaling with source, path, and site parameters

Jonathan P. Stewart, Saburoh Midorikawa, Robert W. Graves, Khatareh Khodaverdi, Tadahiro Kishida, Hiroyuki Miura, Yousef Bozorgnia, Kenneth W. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The Mw9.0 Tohoku-oki Japan earthquake produced approximately 2,000 ground motion recordings. We consider 1,238 three-component accelerograms corrected with component-specific low-cut filters. The recordings have rupture distances between 44 km and 1,000 km, time-averaged shear wave velocities of VS30 = 90 m=s to 1,900 m/s, and usable response spectral periods of 0.01 sec to >10 sec. The data support the notion that the increase of ground motions with magnitude saturates at large magnitudes. High-frequency ground motions demonstrate faster attenuation with distance in backarc than in forearc regions, which is only captured by one of the four considered ground motion prediction equations for subduction earthquakes. Recordings within 100 km of the fault are used to estimate event terms, which are generally positive (indicating model underprediction) at short periods and zero or negative (overprediction) at long periods. We find site amplification to scale minimally with VS30 at high frequencies, in contrast with other active tectonic regions, but to scale strongly with VS30 at low frequencies.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)S1-S21
JournalEarthquake Spectra
Issue numberSUPPL.1
StatePublished - Mar 2013


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