Stochastic procedure for the simulation of synthetic main shock-aftershock ground motion sequences

Sheng Hu, Paolo Gardoni, Longjun Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


According to the current seismic codes, structures are designed to resist the first damaging earthquake during their service life. However, after a strong main shock, a structure may still face damaging aftershocks. The main shock-aftershock sequence may result in major damage and eventually the collapse of a structure. Current studies on seismic hazard mainly focus on the modeling and simulation of main shocks. This paper proposes a 3-step procedure to generate main shock-aftershock sequences of pairs of horizontal components of a ground motion at a site of interest. The first step generates ground motions for the main shock using either a source-based or site-based model. The second step generates sequences of aftershocks' magnitudes, locations, and times of occurrence using either a fault-based or seismicity-based model. The third step simulates pairs of ground motion components using a new empirical model proposed in this paper. We develop prediction equations for the controlling parameters of a ground motion model, where the predictors are the site condition and the aftershock characteristics from the second step. The coefficients in the prediction equations and the correlation between the model parameters (of the 2 horizontal components of 1 record and of several records in 1 sequence) are estimated using a database of aftershock accelerograms. A backward stepwise deletion method is used to simplify the initial candidate prediction equations and avoid overfitting the data. The procedure, based on easily identifiable engineering parameters, is a useful tool to incorporate effects of aftershocks into seismic analysis and design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2275-2296
Number of pages22
JournalEarthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • main shock-aftershock sequence
  • stochastic modeling
  • synthetic ground motions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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