Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Additional period and site class maps for the 2014 National Seismic Hazard Model for the conterminous United States

September 11, 2018

The 2014 update of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Seismic Hazard Model (NSHM) for the conterminous United States (2014 NSHM; Petersen and others, 2014, 2015) included probabilistic ground motion maps for 2 percent and 10 percent probabilities of exceedance in 50 years, derived from seismic hazard curves for peak ground acceleration (PGA) and 0.2 and 1.0 second spectral accelerations (SAs) with 5 percent damping for the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) site class boundary B/C (time-averaged shear wave velocity in the upper 30 meters [VS30]=760 meters per second [m/s]). We now provide uniform NEHRP site class maps for 2, 5, and 10 percent probabilities of exceedance in 50 years derived from hazard curves for additional spectral periods. For the central and eastern United States (CEUS) and western United States (WUS), hazard curves and maps for PGA, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 second SAs are now available. The WUS additionally includes hazard curves and maps for 0.75, 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0 second SAs. The use of region-specific suites of weighted ground motion models (GMMs) in the 2014 NSHM precluded the calculation of ground motions for a uniform set of periods and site classes for the conterminous United States. At the time of the development of the 2014 NSHM, there was no consensus in the CEUS on an appropriate site-amplification model to use; therefore, we calculated hazard curves and maps for NEHRP site class A, for which most stable continental GMMs were originally developed, based on simulations for hard rock site conditions (VS30=2,000 m/s). In the WUS, however, the active crustal Next Generation Attenuation Relationships for the WUS (NGA-West2 GMMs) and subduction GMMs allow amplification of ground motions based on site class (defined by VS30); so we calculated hazard curves and maps for NEHRP site classes B (VS30=1,080 m/s), C (VS30=530 m/s), D (VS30=260 m/s), and E (VS30=150 m/s) and site class boundaries A/B (VS30=1,500 m/s), B/C (VS30=760 m/s), C/D (VS30=365 m/s), and D/E (VS30=185 m/s). The 2014 NSHM introduced a set of criteria for selecting GMMs for use in the NSHMs. When calculating additional period and site class maps, we verified whether the 2014 NSHM original suites of GMMs satisfied these ground motion selection criteria at all additional periods and site classes using GMM magnitude-distance scaling relation plots. Results of our analysis show that certain GMMs give unrealistic results at longer periods, distances, and softer soils in the WUS. In these rare instances, the GMM was removed from the original suite of GMMs (for all periods and site classes) and the weights of the remaining GMMs in the suite were renormalized. Ratio maps show these updated suites of weighted GMMs result in probabilistic ground motion changes of less than 10 percent in the WUS at PGA, as well as 0.2 and 1.0 second SAs, except in the Pacific Northwest, where differences as much as 20 percent are seen. Hazard curves and uniform hazard response spectra at test sites across the conterminous United States were produced to verify that results were reasonable. The additional period and site class maps, and the hazard curves from which they were derived, are available for download from the USGS ScienceBase Catalog.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2018
Title Additional period and site class maps for the 2014 National Seismic Hazard Model for the conterminous United States
DOI 10.3133/ofr20181111
Authors Allison Shumway, Mark D. Petersen, Peter M. Powers, Sanaz Rezaeian
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2018-1111
Index ID ofr20181111
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geologic Hazards Science Center