Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Basin and site effects in the U.S. Pacific Northwest estimated from small‐magnitude earthquakes

August 24, 2021

Earthquake hazards in the U.S. Pacific Northwest (PNW) are increased by the presence of deep sedimentary basins that amplify and prolong ground shaking. To better understand basin and site effects on ground motions, we compile a database of recordings from crustal and intraslab earthquakes. We process 8028 records with magnitudes from 3.5 to 6.8 and hypocentral depths up to 62 km to compute Fourier amplitude spectra of ground acceleration for frequencies of 0–20 Hz. We compute residuals relative to the Bayless and Abrahamson (2019; hereafter, BA18) ground‐motion model and perform a series of linear, crossed, mixed‐effects regressions. In addition to estimating the bias, event, and site terms, we incorporate groupings for broad regionalized site response in three different regions (Seattle basin, Puget Lowland, non‐Puget Lowland), for effects from seismotectonic regime (crustal and intraslab sources), and for interactions between the regions and seismotectonic regimes. We find that the scaling of site response with respect to VS30 (time‐averaged shear‐wave velocity from the surface to a depth of 30 m) and to basin depth indicators Z1.0 and Z2.5 (depths to the 1.0 and 2.5 km/s shear‐wave velocity horizons) is generally consistent with BA18; however, the region terms display strong spatial amplification patterns. For frequencies less than 5 Hz, the Seattle basin amplifies ground motions up to a factor of four, relative to the non‐Puget Lowland, with a maximum amplification around near 0.5 Hz. Sites in the Puget Lowland amplify low frequencies up to a factor of 2.5. At higher frequencies (⁠f>5  Hz⁠), the Puget Lowland and Seattle basin show regional deamplification of ground motions, with the smallest average amplification factor of 0.65 occurring at 10.0 Hz. Although we observe slight differences in the seismotectonic regime terms, we find that the region terms are significantly more important for modeling earthquake hazard in the PNW.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Basin and site effects in the U.S. Pacific Northwest estimated from small‐magnitude earthquakes
DOI 10.1785/0120210029
Authors John Rekoske, Morgan P. Moschetti, Eric M. Thompson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Index ID 70227377
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geologic Hazards Science Center