First USGS urban seismic hazard maps predict the effects of soils


Probabilistic and scenario urban seismic hazard maps have been produced for Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee covering a six-quadrangle area of the city. The nine probabilistic maps are for peak ground acceleration and 0.2 s and 1.0 s spectral acceleration and for 10%, 5%, and 2% probability of being exceeded in 50 years. Six scenario maps for these three ground motions have also been generated for both an M7.7 and M6.2 on the southwest arm of the New Madrid seismic zone ending at Marked Tree, Arkansas. All maps include the effect of local geology. Relative to the national seismic hazard maps, the effect of the thick sediments beneath Memphis is to decrease 0.2 s probabilistic ground motions by 0-30% and increase 1.0 s probabilistic ground motions by ∼100%. Probabilistic peak ground accelerations remain at levels similar to the national maps, although the ground motion gradient across Shelby County is reduced and ground motions are more uniform within the county. The M7.7 scenario maps show ground motions similar to the 5%-in-50-year probabilistic maps. As an effect of local geology, both M7.7 and M6.2 scenario maps show a more uniform seismic ground-motion hazard across Shelby County than scenario maps with constant site conditions (i.e., NEHRP B/C boundary).

Publication Title

Seismological Research Letters