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GEM1 Best Practices for Using Macroseismic Intensity and Ground Motion Intensity Conversion Equations for Hazard and Loss Models in GEM1

G. Cua, D. J. Wald, T. I. Allen, D. Garcia, C. B. Worden, M. Gerstenberger, K. Lin, K. Marano




Macroseismic shaking intensity is a fundamental parameter for the development, calibration, and use in a variety of hazard maps as well as in empirical (direct) and semi-empirical (indirect) earthquake shaking loss methodologies. Macroseismic data also quantify damage from past and present events and facilitate communicating ground motion levels in terms of human experiences and incurred losses. The aim of this report is to summarize and recommend “best practices” for the use of macroseismic intensity in conjunction with hazard maps (particularly ShakeMaps) and as input to associated loss models. The continued reliance on macroseismic intensity data dictates that ground motion prediction equations (GMPEs) alone are not always sufficient for estimating or constraining shaking hazards. Relations that allow direct estimation of intensity given an earthquake magnitude and distance, and those that convert ground motions to intensity (and vice versa) are required. Forward estimation of macroseismic intensities take two primary forms: 1) direct intensity prediction equations (IPEs), and 2) ground-motion-to-intensity conversion equations (GMICE). In addition, one can potentially better constrain historical ground motions at particular sites by employing intensity-to-ground-motion conversion equations (IGMCEs), though such equations are rare. Both the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) and Global ShakeMap (GSM) require advice and optimization in the state-of-the-art use of ground motion and intensity data. We provide background on the issues relating ground motions to intensities, directly predicting intensities, and offer insight into their uses. In the end, we recommend initial default IPE and GMICE selections for use in the immediate short term while additional research on these fronts continues and develops. A brief summary of highly related, current studies that help inform this report is also provided. Based on these ongoing analyses, and this report’s summary, we provide recommendations for further refinements in the form of continued research and development efforts.

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