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A preliminary investigation of strong-motion data from the French Antilles

Douglas, John and Bertil, Didier and Roullé, Agathe and Dominique, Pascal and Jousset, Philippe (2006) A preliminary investigation of strong-motion data from the French Antilles. Journal of Seismology, 10 (3). pp. 271-299. ISSN 1573-157X

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Abstract

Strong-motion networks have been operating in the Caribbean region since the 1970s, however, until the mid-1990s only a few analogue stations were operational and the quantity of data recorded was very low. Since the mid-1990s, digital accelerometric networks have been established on islands within the region. At present there are thought to be about 160 stations operating in this region with a handful on Cuba, 65 on the French Antilles (mainly Guadeloupe and Martinique), eight on Jamaica, 78 on Puerto Rico (plus others on adjacent islands) and four on Trinidad. After briefly summarising the available data from the Caribbean islands, this article is mainly concerned with analysing the data that has been recorded by the networks operating on the French Antilles in terms of their distribution with respect to magnitude, source-to-site distance, focal depth and event type; site effects at certain stations; and also with respect to their predictability by ground motion estimation equations developed using data from different regions of the world. More than 300 good quality triaxial acceleration time-histories have been recorded on Guadeloupe and Martinique at a large number of stations from earthquakes with magnitudes larger than 4.8, however, most of the records are from considerable source-to-site distances. From the data available it is found that many of the commonly-used ground motion estimation equations for shallow crustal earthquakes poorly estimate the observed ground motions on the two islands; ground motions on Guadeloupe and Martinique have smaller amplitudes and are more variable than expected. This difference could be due to regional dependence of ground motions because of, for example, differing tectonics or crustal structures or because the ground motions so far recorded are, in general, from smaller earthquakes and greater distances than the range of applicability of the investigated equations.