1909 Taipei Earthquake Ground Motion Simulation

  • Ground motions with full spectra for the 1909 Taipei earthquake were simulated
  • Possible magnitude and stress drop of the 1909 Taipei earthquake were assessed
  • Concern on intra-plate event beneath Taipei

The 1909 Taipei earthquake (M 7.3) occurred beneath the Taipei metropolitan area (TMA) causing substantial damage according to the historical literature. According to the hypocenter relocation and tectonic implications provided in a previous study, we simulated ground motions within the TMA using a hybrid simulation method involving the spectral-element method (SEM) and the empirical Green’s function method (EGFM). We used the SEM for simulating low-frequency components and the EGFM for simulating high-frequency components. These high and low frequency components were subsequently combined. For the EGFM we used the records from a recent ML 4.9 earthquake (11 October 2013, depth = 143.8 km) in the Taipei area as the empirical Green’s function. According to the historical literature, the observed PGA (peak ground acceleration) values are 59.2 and 67.0 gal at ancient stations TAP and KEE, with periods of 1.21 and 1.34 s, respectively. By comparing the simulated PGA values at modern stations TAPB and WFSB to the historical documented ones for 12 different models, our result suggests that the 1909 Taipei earthquake was an event with a magnitude of about Mw 7.3 and stress drop of approximately 30 bars, or a smaller equivalent magnitude between Mw 6.8 - 7.3 but with much higher average stress drop of more than 100 bars. For a deep event beneath TMA a larger vertical P-wave motion and longer period shaking wave, as addressed in the historical literature, might be expected with prolonged shaking as found in the simulation. A seismic hazard assessment is necessary for metropolitan Taipei to better understand the long period shaking from deep subduction zone intra plate events.

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