Validation of empirical and physics-based ground motion and site response prediction models for the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes
The 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes were recorded over a dense strong motion network in the near-source region, yielding significant observational evidence of seismic complexities, and a basis for interpretation of multi-disciplinary datasets and induced damage to the natural and built environment. This paper provides an overview of observed strong motions from these events and retrospective comparisons with both empirical and physics-based ground motion models. Both empirical and physics-based methods provide good predictions of observations at short vibration periods in an average sense. However, observed ground motion amplitudes at specific locations, such as Heathcote Valley, are seen to systematically depart from ‘average’ empirical predictions as a result of near surface stratigraphic and topographic features which are well modelled via sitespecific response analyses. Significant insight into the long period bias in empirical predictions is obtained from the use of hybrid broadband ground motion simulation. The comparison of both empirical and physics-based simulations against a set of 10 events in the sequence clearly illustrates the potential for simulations to improve ground motion and site response prediction, both at present, and further in the future.