Ground Motion of Mississippi Valley Earthquakes

by Otto W. Nuttli, Prof. of Geophysics; Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, St. Louis Univ., St. Louis, Mo. 63156,
Robert B. Herrmann, Prof. of Geophysics; Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, St. Louis Univ., St. Louis, Mo. 63156,


Serial Information: Journal of Technical Topics in Civil Engineering, 1984, Vol. 110, Issue 1, Pg. 54-69


Document Type: Journal Paper

Abstract: Three methods are used to estimate the dependence of strong ground motion on epicentral distance and magnitude for Mississippi Valley earthquakes. The first utilizes earthquake intensity attenuation relations, correlations between modified Mercalli (M.M.) intensity and ground acceleration, velocity and displacement, and relations between maximum M.M. intensity and earthquake magnitude. The second method used near-field strong-motion data from the western United States which is extrapolated to larger distances by using seismic wave attenuation that is appropriate to the central United States. The third method uses observed strong ground-motion values for the central and eastern United States to determine acceleration, velocity and displacement as a function of epicentral distance for an earthquake of body-wave magnitude (mb) equal to 5. Theoretical scaling relations are employed to construct similar curves for other magnitudes. All three methods give similar results for earthquakes in the mb range of 5.0–6.5. An mb = 5.0 earthquake is about the lower level of damaging events. An mb = 6.5 earthquake has a recurrence time of about one century in the central and eastern United States.

Subject Headings: Earthquakes | Ground motion | Earthquake magnitude scale | Displacement (mechanics) | Seismic waves | Wave attenuation | Correlation | Seismic tests | United States | North America | Mississippi

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