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Large research initiatives such as the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) or the Seismic HAzard haRmonization in Europe (SHARE) projects concentrate a great collaborative effort on defining a global standard for seismic hazard estimations. In this context, there is an increasing need for identifying ground-motion prediction equations (GMPEs) that can be applied at both global and regional scale. With increasing amounts of strong-motion records that are now available worldwide, observational data can provide a valuable resource to tackle this question. Using the global dataset of Allen and Wald (2009), we evaluate the ability of 11 GMPEs to predict ground-motion in different active shallow crustal regions worldwide. Adopting the approach of Scherbaum et al. (2009), we rank these GMPEs according to their likelihood of having generated the data. In particular, we estimate how strongly data support or reject the models with respect to the state of noninformativeness defined by a uniform weighting. Such rankings derived from this particular global dataset enable us to explore the potential of GMPEs to predict ground motions in their host region and also in other regions depending on the magnitude and distance considered. In the ranking process, we particularly focus on the influence of the distribution of the testing dataset compared with the GMPE's native dataset. One of the results of this study is that some nonindigenous models present a high degree of consistency with the data from a target region. Two models in particular demonstrated a strong power of geographically wide applicability in different geographic regions with respect to the testing dataset: the models of Akkar and Bommer (2010) and Chiou et al. (2010).

The Seismic Hazard Harmonization in Europe (SHARE) project, which began in June 2009, aims at establishing new standards for probabilistic seismic hazard assessment in the Euro-Mediterranean region. In this context, a logic tree for ground-motion prediction in Europe has been constructed. Ground-motion prediction equations (GMPEs) and weights have been determined so that the logic tree captures epistemic uncertainty in ground-motion prediction for six different tectonic regimes in Europe. Here we present the strategy that we adopted to build such a logic tree. This strategy has the particularity of combining two complementary and independent approaches: expert judgment and data testing. A set of six experts was asked to weight pre-selected GMPEs while the ability of these GMPEs to predict available data was evaluated with the method of Scherbaum et al. (Bull Seismol Soc Am 99:3234-3247, 2009). Results of both approaches were taken into account to commonly select the smallest set of GMPEs to capture the uncertainty in ground-motion prediction in Europe. For stable continental regions, two models, both from eastern North America, have been selected for shields, and three GMPEs from active shallow crustal regions have been added for continental crust. For subduction zones, four models, all non-European, have been chosen. Finally, for active shallow crustal regions, we selected four models, each of them from a different host region but only two of them were kept for long periods. In most cases, a common agreement has been also reached for the weights. In case of divergence, a sensitivity analysis of the weights on the seismic hazard has been conducted, showing that once the GMPEs have been selected, the associated set of weights has a smaller influence on the hazard.

Ground-motion prediction equations (GMPE) are essential in probabilistic seismic hazard studies for estimating the ground motions generated by the seismic sources. In low-seismicity regions, only weak motions are available during the lifetime of accelerometric networks, and the equations selected for the probabilistic studies are usually models established from foreign data. Although most GMPEs have been developed for magnitudes 5 and above, the minimum magnitude often used in probabilistic studies in low-seismicity regions is smaller. Disaggregations have shown that, at return periods of engineering interest, magnitudes less than 5 may be contributing to the hazard. This paper presents the testing of several GMPEs selected in current international and national probabilistic projects against weak motions recorded in France (191 recordings with source-site distances up to 300 km, 3:8 <= M-w <= 4:5). The method is based on the log-likelihood value proposed by Scherbaum et al. (2009). The best-fitting models (approximately 2:5 <= LLH <= 3:5) over the whole frequency range are the Cauzzi and Faccioli (2008), Akkar and Bommer (2010), and Abrahamson and Silva (2008) models. No significant regional variation of ground motions is highlighted, and the magnitude scaling could be the predominant factor in the control of ground-motion amplitudes. Furthermore, we take advantage of a rich Japanese dataset to run tests on randomly selected low-magnitude subsets, and confirm that a dataset of similar to 190 observations, the same size as the French dataset, is large enough to obtain stable LLH estimates. Additionally we perform the tests against larger magnitudes (5-7) from the Japanese dataset. The ranking of models is partially modified, indicating a magnitude scaling effect for some of the models, and showing that extrapolating testing results obtained from low-magnitude ranges to higher magnitude ranges is not straightforward.

Although the methodological framework of probabilistic seismic hazard analysis is well established, the selection of models to predict the ground motion at the sites of interest remains a major challenge. Information theory provides a powerful theoretical framework that can guide this selection process in a consistent way. From an information- theoretic perspective, the appropriateness of models can be expressed in terms of their relative information loss (Kullback-Leibler distance) and hence in physically meaningful units (bits). In contrast to hypothesis testing, information-theoretic model selection does not require ad hoc decisions regarding significance levels nor does it require the models to be mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. The key ingredient, the Kullback-Leibler distance, can be estimated from the statistical expectation of log-likelihoods of observations for the models under consideration. In the present study, data-driven ground-motion model selection based on Kullback-Leibler-distance differences is illustrated for a set of simulated observations of response spectra and macroseismic intensities. Information theory allows for a unified treatment of both quantities. The application of Kullback-Leibler-distance based model selection to real data using the model generating data set for the Abrahamson and Silva (1997) ground-motion model demonstrates the superior performance of the information-theoretic perspective in comparison to earlier attempts at data- driven model selection (e.g., Scherbaum et al., 2004).

Considering the increasing number and complexity of ground-motion prediction equations available for seismic hazard assessment, there is a definite need for an efficient, quantitative, and robust method to select and rank these models for a particular region of interest. In a recent article, Scherbaum et al. (2009) have suggested an information- theoretic approach for this purpose that overcomes several shortcomings of earlier attempts at using data-driven ground- motion prediction equation selection procedures. The results of their theoretical study provides evidence that in addition to observed response spectra, macroseismic intensity data might be useful for model selection and ranking. We present here an applicability study for this approach using response spectra and macroseismic intensities from eight Californian earthquakes. A total of 17 ground-motion prediction equations, from different regions, for response spectra, combined with the equation of Atkinson and Kaka (2007) for macroseismic intensities are tested for their relative performance. The resulting data-driven rankings show that the models that best estimate ground motion in California are, as one would expect, Californian and western U. S. models, while some European models also perform fairly well. Moreover, the model performance appears to be strongly dependent on both distance and frequency. The relative information of intensity versus response spectral data is also explored. The strong correlation we obtain between intensity-based rankings and spectral-based ones demonstrates the great potential of macroseismic intensities data for model selection in the context of seismic hazard assessment.

The most recent intense earthquake swarm in the Vogtland lasted from 6 October 2008 until January 2009. Greatest magnitudes exceeded M3.5 several times in October making it the greatest swarm since 1985/86. In contrast to the swarms in 1985 and 2000, seismic moment release was concentrated near swarm onset. Focal area and temporal evolution are similar to the swarm in 2000. Work hypothysis: uprising upper-mantle fluids trigger swarm earthquakes at low stress level. To monitor the seismicity, the University of Potsdam operated a small aperture seismic array at 10 km epicentral distance between 18 October 2008 and 18 March 2009. Consisting of 12 seismic stations and 3 additional microphones, the array is capable of detecting earthquakes from larger to very low magnitudes (M<-1) as well as associated air waves. We use array techniques to determine properties of the incoming wavefield: noise, direct P and S waves, and converted phases.