Quantifying the uncertainty in site amplification modeling and its effects on site-specific seismic-hazard estimation in the upper Mississippi embayment and adjacent areas


The Mississippi embayment, located in the central United States, and its thick deposits of sediments (over 1 km in places) have a large effect on earthquake ground motions. Several previous studies have addressed how these thick sediments might modify probabilistic seismic-hazard maps. The high seismic hazard associated with the New Madrid seismic zone makes it particularly important to quantify the uncertainty in modeling site amplification to better represent earthquake hazard in seismic-hazard maps. The methodology of the Memphis urban seismic-hazard-mapping project (Cramer et al., 2004) is combined with the reference profile approach of Toro and Silva (2001) to better estimate seismic hazard in the Mississippi embayment. Improvements over previous approaches include using the 2002 national seismic-hazard model, fully probabilistic hazard calculations, calibration of site amplification with improved nonlinear soil-response estimates, and estimates of uncertainty. Comparisons are made with the results of several previous studies, and estimates of uncertainty inherent in site-amplification modeling for the upper Mississippi embayment are developed. I present new seismic-hazard maps for the upper Mississippi embayment with the effects of site geology incorporating these uncertainties.

Publication Title

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America