Inferred ground motions on Guadeloupe during the 2004 les Saintes earthquake

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Accurate estimates of the ground motions that occurred during damaging earthquakes are a vital part of many aspects of earthquake engineering, such as the study of the size and cause of the uncertainties within earthquake risk assessments. This article compares a number of methods to estimate the ground shaking that occurred on Guadeloupe (French Antilles) during the 21st November 2004 (M w 6.3) Les Saintes earthquake, with the aim of providing more accurate shaking estimates for the investigation of the sources of uncertainties within loss evaluations, based on damage data from this event. The various techniques make differing use of the available ground-motion recordings of this earthquake and by consequence the estimates obtained by the different approaches are associated with differing uncertainties. Ground motions on the French Antilles are affected by strong local site effects, which have been extensively investigated in previous studies. In this article, use is made of these studies in order to improve the shaking estimates. It is shown that the simple methods neglecting the spatial correlation of earthquake shaking lead to uncertainties similar to those predicted by empirical ground-motion models and that these are uniform across the whole of Guadeloupe. In contrast, methods (such as the ShakeMap approach) that take account of the spatial correlation in motions demonstrate that shaking within roughly 10 km of a recording station (covering a significant portion of the investigated area) can be defined with reasonable accuracy but that motions at more distant points are not well constrained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-376
Number of pages14
JournalBulletin of Earthquake Engineering
Issue number3
Early online date29 Jun 2007
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


  • ground-motion estimation
  • Guadeloupe
  • Les Saintes
  • shakemap
  • site effects
  • spatial correlation
  • strong ground motion
  • uncertainties

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