Three-dimensional long-period groundmotion simulations in the upper Mississippi embayment

Kenneth A. Macpherson, Edward W. Woolery, Zhenming Wang, Pengcheng Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We employed a 3D velocity model and 3D wave propagation code to simulate long-period ground motions in the upper Mississippi embayment. This region is at risk from large earthquakes in the New Madrid seismic zone (NMSZ) and observational data are sparse, making simulation a valuable tool for predicting the effects of large events. We undertook these simulations to estimate the magnitude of shaking likely to occur and to investigate the influence of the 3D embayment structure and finite-fault mechanics on ground motions. There exist three primary fault zones in the NMSZ, each of which was likely associated with one of the main shocks of the 1811-12 earthquake triplet. For this study, three simulations have been conducted on each major segment, exploring the impact of different epicentral locations and rupture directions on ground motions. The full wave field up to a frequency of 0.5 Hz is computed on a 200 × 200 × 50-km 3 volume using a staggered-grid finite-difference code. Peak horizontal velocity and bracketed durations were calculated at the free surface. The NMSZ simulations indicate that for the considered bandwidth, finite-fault mechanics such as fault proximity, directivity effect, and slip distribution exert the most control on ground motions. The 3D geologic structure of the upper Mississippi embayment also influences ground motion with indications that amplification is induced by the sharp velocity contrast at the basin edge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-405
Number of pages15
JournalSeismological Research Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics


Dive into the research topics of 'Three-dimensional long-period groundmotion simulations in the upper Mississippi embayment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this