Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 171–203

Style-of-Faulting in Ground-Motion Prediction Equations

  • Julian J. Bommer
  • John Douglas
  • Fleur O. Strasser


Equations for the prediction of response spectral ordinates invariably include magnitude, distance and site classification as independent variables. A few equations also include style-of-faulting as a fourth variable, although this has an almost negligible effect on the standard deviation of the equation. Nonetheless, style-of-faulting is a useful parameter to include in ground-motion prediction equations since the rupture mechanism of future earthquakes in a particular seismic source zone can usually be defined with some confidence. Current equations including style-of-faulting use different schemes to classify fault ruptures into various categories, which leads to uncertainty and ambiguity regarding the nature and extent of the effect of focal mechanism on ground motions. European equations for spectral ordinates do not currently include style-of-faulting factors, and seismic hazard assessments in Europe often combine, in logic-tree formulations, these equations with those from western North America that do include style-of-faulting coefficients. In this article, a simple scheme is provided to allow style-of-faulting adjustments to be made for those equations that do not include coefficients for rupture mechanism, so that style-of-faulting can be fully incorporated into the hazard calculations. This also considers the case of normal fault ruptures, not modelled in any of the current Californian equations, but which are the dominant mechanism in many parts of Europe. The scheme is validated by performing new regressions on a widely used European attenuation relationship with additional terms for style-of-faulting.

attenuation relations fault rupture mechanism logic-tree analysis seismic hazard assessment 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aki, K. and Richards, P.G. (1980) Quantitative Seismology: Theory and Methods, vol. I, W.H. Freeman and Company.Google Scholar
  2. Abrahamson, N.A. and Litehiser, J.J. (1989) Attenuation of vertical peak acceleration. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 79, 549–580.Google Scholar
  3. Abrahamson. N.A. and Shedlock, K.M. (1997) Overview. Seismological Research Letters, 68(1), 9–23.Google Scholar
  4. Abrahamson, N.A. and Silva, W.J. (1997) Empirical response spectral attenuation relations for shallow crustal earthquakes. Seismological Research Letters, 68(1), 94–127.Google Scholar
  5. Abrahamson, N.A., Birkhauser, P., Koller, M., Mayer-Rosa, D., Smit, P., Sprecher, C., Tinic, S. and Graf, R. (2002) PEGASOS-a comprehensive probabilistic seismic hazard assessment for nuclear power plants in Switzerland. 12th European Conference on Earthquake Engineering, London, Paper No. 633.Google Scholar
  6. Ambraseys, N.N. and Douglas, J. (2003) Near-field horizontal and vertical earthquake ground motions. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 23(1), 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ambraseys, N.N., Simpson, K.A. and Bommer, J.J. (1996) Prediction of horizontal response spectra in Europe. Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, 25, 371–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Anderson, J.G. and Brune, J.N. (1999) Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis without the ergodic assumption. Seismological Research Letters, 70(1), 19–28.Google Scholar
  9. Aptikaev, F. and Kopnichev, J. (1980) Correlation between seismic vibration parameters and type of faulting. In Proceedings of Seventh World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Vol. 1, 107–110.Google Scholar
  10. Atkinson, G.M. and Boore, D.M. (1997) Some comparisons between recent ground-motion relations. Seismological Research Letters, 68(1), 24–40.Google Scholar
  11. Becker, A.M. and Abrahamson, N.A. (1998) Stress drops in extensional regimes. Seismological Research Letters, 69, 172.Google Scholar
  12. Berberian, M., Jackson, J.A., Fielding, E., Parsons, B.E., Priestley, K., Qorashi, M., Talebian, M., Walker, R., Wright, T.J. and Baker, C. (2001) The 1998 March 14 Fandoqa earthquake (Mw 6.6) in Kerman province, southeast Iran: re-rupture of the 1981 Sirch earthquake fault, triggering of slip on adjacent thrusts and the active tectonics of the Gowk fault zone. Geophysical Journal International, 146, 371–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Berge-Thierry, C., Cotton, F., Cushing, M., Griot-Pommera, D.A., Joly, J., Levret, A. and Scotti, A. (2000) Méthode de détermination des spectres horizontaux et verticaux adaptés au site dans le cadre de la RFS 1.2.c Rapport IPSN, Departement de protection de l'environnement, SERGD/00–53.Google Scholar
  14. Bommer, J.J. (2003) Uncertainty about the uncertainty in seismic hazard analysis. Engineering Geology, 70(1/2), 165–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Boore, D.M., Joyner, W.B. and Fumal, T.E. (1994) Estimation of response spectra and peak accelerations from western North American earthquakes: an interim report. US Geological Survey Open-File Report 94–127.Google Scholar
  16. Boore, D.M., Joyner, W.B. and Fumal, T.E. (1997) Equations for estimating horizontal response spectra and peak acceleration from western North American earthquakes: a summary of recent work. Seismological Research Letters, 68(1), 128–153.Google Scholar
  17. Campbell, K.W. (1997) Empirical near-source attenuation relationships for horizontal and vertical components of peak ground acceleration, peak ground velocity, and pseudo-absolute acceleration response spectra. Seismological Research Letters, 68, 154–179.Google Scholar
  18. Campbell, K.W. and Bozorgnia, Y. (2003) Updated near-source ground-motion (attenuation) relations for the horizontal and vertical components of peak ground acceleration and acceleration response spectra. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 93(1), 314–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cousins, W.J., Zhao, J.X. and Perrin, N.D. (1999) A model for the attenuation of peak ground acceleration in New Zealand earthquakes based on seismograph and accelerograph data. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 32, 193–220.Google Scholar
  20. Crouse, C.B. and McGuire, J.W. (1996) Site response studies for purpose of revising NEHRP seismic provisions. Earthquake Spectra, 12, 407–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Deschamps, A. and King, G.C.P. (1984) Aftershocks of the Campania-Lucania (Italy) earthquake of 23 November 1980. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 74(6), 2483–2518.Google Scholar
  22. Dobry, R., Borcherdt, R.D., Crouse, C.B., Idriss, I.M., Joyner, W.B., Martin, G.R., Power, M.S., Rinne, E.E. and Seed, R.B. (2000) New site coefficients and site classification systems used in recent building seismic code provisions. Earthquake Spectra, 16(1), 41–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Doglas, J. (2003) Earthquake ground motion estimation using strong-motion records: a review of equations for the estimation of peak ground acceleration and spectral ordinates. Earth Science Reviews, 61, 43–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Eakins, P.R. (1987) Faults and faulting. In The Encyclopedia of Structural Geology and Plate Tectonics, C.K. Seyfert, editor, volume 10 of Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series, 229–239. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.Google Scholar
  25. Erdik, M., Biro, Y.A., Onur, T., Sesetyan, K. and Birgoren, G. (1999) Assessment of earthquake hazard in Turkey and neighboring regions. Annali di Geofisica, 42(6), 1125–1138.Google Scholar
  26. Frankel, A.D., Mueller, C.S., Barnhard, T.P., Leyendecker, E.V., Wesson, R.L., Harmsen, S.C., Klein, F.W., Perkins, D.M., Dickman, N.C., Hanson, S.L. and Hopper, M.G. (2000) USGS national seismic hazard maps. Earthquake Spectra, 16(1), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Frohlich, C. and Apperson, K.D. (1992) Earthquake focal mechanisms, moment tensors, and the consistency of seismic activity near plate boundaries. Tectonics, 11, 279–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gülkan, P. and Kalkan, E. (2002) Attenuation modelling of recent earthquakes in Turkey. Journal of Seismology, 6(3), 397–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Harvard Seismology (2003) CMT Catalog Search. On Internet at http://www.seismology.harvard. edu/CMTsearch.html. Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Department of Engineering and Applied Science, Harvard University.Google Scholar
  30. Jackson, J. (2001) Living with earthquakes: Know your faults. Journal of Earthquake Engineering, 5(Special issue 1), 5–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Joyner, W.B. and Boore, D.M. (1993) Methods for regression analysis of strong-motion data, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 83(2), 469–487.Google Scholar
  32. Lussou, P., Bard, P.Y., Cotton, F. and Fukushima, Y. (2001) Seismic design regulation codes: Contribution of K-Net data to site effect evaluation. Journal of Earthquake Engineering, 5(1), 13–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lyon-Caen, H., Armijo, R., Drakopoulos, J., Baskoutass, J., Delibassis, N., Gaulon, R., Kouskouna, V., Latoussakis, J., Makropoulos, K., Papadimitriou, P., Papanastassiou, D. and Pedotti, G. (1988) The 1986 Kalamata (south Peloponnesus) earthquake: Detailed study of a normal fault, evidences for east-west extension in the Hellenic Arc. Journal of Geophysical Research, 93(B12), 14967–15000.Google Scholar
  34. Margaris, B.N. and Hatzidimitriou, P.M. (2002) Source spectral scaling and stress release estimate using strong-motion records in Greece. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 92(3), 1040–1059.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. McGarr, A. (1984) Scaling of ground motion parameters, state of stress, and focal depth. Journal of Geophysical Research, 89(B6), 6969–6979.Google Scholar
  36. McVerry, G.H., Zhao, J.X., Abrahamson, N.A. and Somerville, P.G. (2000) Crustal and subduction zone attenuation relations for New Zealand earthquakes. Proceedings of the Twelfth World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Auckland, New Zealand, Paper 1834.Google Scholar
  37. Ouyed, M., Yielding, G., Hatzfeld, D. and King, G.C.P. (1983) An aftershock study of the El Asnam (Algeria) earthquake of 1980 October 10, Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, 73, 605–639.Google Scholar
  38. PM (1985) Seismological studies for UK hazard analysis. Tech. rept. 346/85. Principia Mechanica Ltd., London.Google Scholar
  39. Priestley, M.J.N. (2003) Myths and fallacies in earthquake engineering, revisited. The Mallet Milne Lecture. IUSS Press, University of Pavia, Italy.Google Scholar
  40. Rinaldis, D., Berardi, R., Theodulidis, N. and Margaris, B. (1998) Empirical predictive models based on a joint Italian and Greek strong-motion database: I, peak ground acceleration and velocity. Proceedings of Eleventh European Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Paris.Google Scholar
  41. Sabetta, F. and Bommer, J.J. (2002) Modification of the spectral shapes and subsoil conditions in Eurocode 8. Proceedings of the Twelfth European Conference on Earthquake Engineering, London, Paper No. 518.Google Scholar
  42. Sabetta, F. and Pugliese, A. (1996) Estimation of response spectra and simulation of nonstationary earthquake ground motions. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 86(2), 337–352.Google Scholar
  43. Sadigh, K., Chang, C.-Y., Egan, J.A., Makdisi, F. and Youngs, R.R. (1997) Attenuation relationships for shallow crustal earthquakes based on California strong motion data. Seismological Research Letters, 68(1), 180–189.Google Scholar
  44. Sen, M.K. (1990) Deep structural complexity and site response in Los Angeles basin. Proceedings of the Fourth U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Vol. 1, 545–553.Google Scholar
  45. Somerville, P.G. (2000) New developments in seismic hazard estimation. Proceedings of Sixth International Conference on Seismic Zonation, Palm Springs, California, 12–15 November.Google Scholar
  46. Somerville, P.G. and Pitarka, A. (2002) Causes of differences in ground motions between surface and buried faulting. Seismological Research Letters, 73(2), 260.Google Scholar
  47. Somerville, P., Collins, N., Abrahamson, N. Graves, R. and Saikia, C. (2001) Ground motion attenuation relations for the Central and Eastern United States. Final report, June 30, 2001, URS Group, Inc., Pasadena CA, USA.Google Scholar
  48. Spudich, P., Fletcher, J.B., Hellweg, M., Boatwright, J., Sullivan, C., Joyner, W.B., Hanks, T.C., Boore, D.M., McGarr, A., Baker, L.M. and Lindh, A.G. (1997) SEA96-A new predictive relation for earthquake ground motions in extensional tectonic regimes. Seismological Research Letters, 68(1), 190–198.Google Scholar
  49. Spudich, P., Joyner, W.B., Lindh, A.G., Boore, D.M., Margaris, B.M. and Fletcher, J.B. (1999) SEA99: A revised ground motion prediction relation for use in extensional tectonic regimes. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 89(5), 1156–1170.Google Scholar
  50. Stepp, J.C., Wong, I., Whitney, J., Quittmeyer, R., Abrahamson, N., Toro, G., Youngs, G. R., Coppersmith, K., Savy, J., Sullivan, T. and Yucca Mountain PSHA Project Members (2001) Probabilistic seismic hazard analyses for ground motions and fault displacements at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Earthquake Spectra, 17(1), 113–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Theodulidis, N.P. and Papazachos, B.C. (1994) Dependence of strong ground motion on magnitudedistance, site geology and macroseismic intensity for shallow earthquakes in Greece: II horizontal pseudovelocity. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 13(5), 317–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Toro, G.R., Abrahamson, N.A. and Schneider, J.F. (1997) Model of strong ground motions from earthquakes in Central and Eastern North America: best estimates and uncertainties. Seismological Research Letters, 68(1), 41–57.Google Scholar
  53. Vakov, A.V. (1996) Relationships between earthquake magnitude, source geometry and slip mechanism. Tectonophysics 261, 97–113.Google Scholar
  54. Wells, D.L. and Coppersmith, K.J. (1994) New empirical relationships among magnitude, rupture length, rupture width, rupture area, and surface displacement. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 84, 974–1002.Google Scholar
  55. Wetaway, R. and Smith, R.B. (1989) Strong ground motion in normal-faulting earthquakes. Geophysical Journal, 96, 529–559.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian J. Bommer
    • 1
  • John Douglas
    • 1
  • Fleur O. Strasser
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringImperial College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations