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1082

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol. 92, No. 3, pp. 10821094, April 2002
Estimation of Peak Ground Accelerations of the Malay Peninsula
due to Distant Sumatra Earthquakes
by Tso-Chien Pan and Kusnowidjaja Megawati
Abstract The low-seismicity Malay Peninsula has never experienced any earth-
quake damage. Thus, earthquake-resistant design has not been specically required
in the building codes. However, it has been realized that urban areas located rather
distantly from earthquake sources may also be affected by tremors. In this article,
the potential ground motion in terms of the peak ground accelerations (PGAs) due
to long-distance Sumatra earthquakes is investigated for Singapore and Kuala Lum-
pur, following a probabilistic seismic hazard assessment approach. Earthquakes that
have occurred in Sumatra in the last 37 yr are used, for which M
s
and M
w
catalogs
are constructed from the available m
b
catalog. The analysis is then carried out using
the M
w
catalog. Based on the PGAs of 52 recent Sumatra earthquakes recorded in
Singapore, the attenuation relationship of Fukushima and Tanaka (1992) is found to
correlate well with the high-rate attenuation characteristic of the region. The pre-
dicted design-basis PGAs (i.e., PGA with 10% probability of being exceeded in a
50-yr exposure time) on rock outcrop sites are 12.7 and 29.5 gal for Singapore and
Kuala Lumpur, respectively. The predicted maximum credible PGAs (i.e., PGA with
2% probability of being exceeded in 50 yr) are 24.3 and 55.1 gal for the two cities.
Current building design codes in the region require that buildings be capable of
resisting a notional ultimate horizontal design load equal to 1.5% of the characteristic
dead weight, applied at each oor simultaneously to ensure structural robustness.
The base shear forces resulting from the predicted design-basis PGAs and the max-
imum credible PGAs at rock site in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are therefore
comparable to or higher than the capacity required by the current building codes.
Introduction
Under some circumstances, distant earthquakes, occur-
ring several hundred kilometers away, are capable of causing
considerable damages. The Michoacan earthquake of 1985
(M
s
8.1) is a good example. The earthquake caused serious
damage in some areas of Mexico City, 300450 km from
the epicenter, because the incoming earthquake waves were
amplied by the soft soil on the ground surface (Seed et al.,
1987). This may be a peculiar case, but obviously soft-soil
amplication effects are to some extent present in many
places. For example, in February 1994, some buildings in
the densely populated areas of Singapore responded to an
earthquake of M
s
7.0 that occurred near Liwa in southern
Sumatra, more than 700 km away (Pan, 1995). Hundreds of
people were awakened and rushed out of their high-rise ats
in panic. In May 1994, tremors from an earthquake near
Siberut Island, 570 km away, which measured only 6.2 on
the Richter scale, were felt in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia (Pan and Sun, 1996). The shaking of some build-
ings in Singapore again caused panic, and some ofce work-
ers rushed out of their high-rise ofces. In both incidents,
the buildings that responded to the remote earthquakes were
located in the southeastern part of the island, where they are
underlain by Quaternary deposits of the Kallang Formation,
which consists of Holocene sediments of marine, alluvial,
littoral, and estuarine origin. Buildings in other areas of Sin-
gapore had no apparent response. It appears that the Qua-
ternary deposits amplied the incoming earthquake waves
in both incidents. In October 1995, even stronger and more
extensive tremors were caused in Singapore by an M
s
7.0
earthquake occurring 450 km away. This earthquake also
generated ground tremors in Kuala Lumpur and in the south-
ern state of Johor in Malaysia. The recent Bengkulu earth-
quake of 4 June 2000, which had an M
w
of 7.7 and an epi-
center 700 km south-southwest of Singapore, produced the
strongest tremors felt in the city in the past 40 years (Pan et
al., 2001). Many high-rise buildings across virtually the
whole island were shaken, regardless of the local ground
conditions. So far, 32 earthquakes have reportedly been felt
in Singapore since the British settlement in 1891; 27 events
were reported in Pan and Sun (1996), one in October 1996,
Estimation of Peak Ground Accelerations of the Malay Peninsula due to Distant Sumatra Earthquakes 1083
one in April 1998, and the remaining three tremors during
the recent Bengkulu earthquake. The frequency of the felt
events seems to rise as the country develops.
The Malay Peninsula is of low seismicity. Historically,
earthquakes have never posed any real problems in the Ma-
lay Peninsula, and earthquake-resistant design has thus not
been specically required in the current building codes. This
is understandable since the nearest earthquake belt, com-
prising the Sumatra subduction zone and the Sumatra fault,
is more than 300 km away. However, the increasing number
of felt tremors described previously demonstrates that, al-
though there has never been any earthquake damage in the
Malay Peninsula and Singapore, the seismic hazard may not
be negligible, especially the damage potential to high-rise
buildings on soft sedimentary deposits or reclaimed land. It
is therefore appropriate to investigate the magnitude of likely
ground motions in the major cities on the Malay Peninsula
under such circumstances. The present study therefore fo-
cuses on Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Ma-
laysia, where there are the largest concentrations of high-rise
buildings, complex infrastructure systems, and population.
The results are presented in the form of predicted peak
ground accelerations for various levels of probability of ex-
ceedance in a 50-yr exposure time. In this study, only the
ground motions at rock outcrop sites (bedrock) will be in-
vestigated. The ground motion at soft-soil sites may then be
estimated separately based on site response analysis when
required.
Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis
There are generally two approaches in earthquake haz-
ard analysis: one is deterministic and the other is probabi-
listic. In the rst approach, an event with a certain magnitude
at a certain distance is chosen as the design earthquake.
Buildings are then required to be designed against the
ground motions caused by the design earthquake. The de-
terministic approach is straightforward and easy for the pub-
lic and policymakers to understand, but the choice of the
design earthquake is difcult. In the probabilistic approach,
structures are required to withstand a certain level of ground
motion that has a certain probability of being exceeded
within an exposure time period. For example, in the Uniform
Building Code (International Conference of Building Of-
cials, 1991), the minimum ground motion is taken as one
that has a 10% probability of being exceeded in 50 yr. It
recognizes the possibilities of stronger ground motion and
accepts the risk. The probabilistic approach tells how much
risk one is taking when designing a structure against a certain
level of ground motion. This exploits the trade-off between
safety and economy. The probabilistic approach also incor-
porates the uncertainty in seismic activity and the random-
ness in ground motion predicted by an attenuation function.
However, it is more difcult for the public to understand
how the results have been obtained. Despite the difculty,
the probabilistic approach is chosen for this study.
In the probabilistic approach, a ground motion value i
is selected, and the probability of ground motion I exceeding
the value i, F
I
(i), for an earthquake occurring in the region
studied can be calculated as follows:
M r
max max
F (i) P[I i| m, r] f (m)h(r)drdm, (1)
I
M r
min min
where P[I i| m,r] is the probability of I greater than i given
a magnitude m and distance r, f (m) is the probability density
function for an earthquake of magnitude m to occur, h(r) is
the probability density function of an earthquake occurring
at distance r, M
min
is the minimum magnitude of earthquake
in the sample, M
max
is the maximum possible earthquake
magnitude in the area studied, r
min
is the minimum distance
of earthquake in the sample, and r
max
is the maximum dis-
tance of earthquake that may still affect a site concerned.
Assuming that earthquakes have a Poisson distribution,
given an exposure time t, if N earthquakes are expected per
year in the region, the probability of ground motion i being
exceeded in t years, P
E
, will be (Lomnitz, 1974)
F (i)Nt
I
P 1 e . (2)
E
Hence, the probabilistic method of earthquake hazard anal-
ysis consists of the following four steps:
1. identifying the seismic source areas;
2. determining seismicity statistics (i.e., the probability den-
sity functions for magnitude and epicentral distance, f (m)
and h(r));
3. dening an attenuation law (i.e., P[I i| m, r]); and
4. computing probabilities of a given ground motion being
exceeded at a particular site for a given exposure time,
using equations (1) and (2).
Seismotectonics of Sumatra
Sumatra is located adjacent to the Sunda trench (Fig.
1), where the IndianAustralian Plate subducts beneath the
Eurasian Plate at a rate of about 67 7 mm/yr, toward
N11E 4 (Demets et al., 1990; Tregoning et al., 1994).
Sumatra and Java Islands lie on the overriding plate, a few
hundred kilometers from the trench. Convergence is nearly
orthogonal to the trench axis near Java, but it is highly
oblique near Sumatra, where strain is strongly partitioned
between dip slip on the subduction zone interface and right-
lateral slip on the Sumatra fault along the western coast of
the island (Fitch, 1972; McCaffrey, 1991). The earthquake
focal mechanisms and hypocentral distributions indicate that
the subducting plate in Sumatra dips less than 15 beneath
the outer arc ridge and becomes steeper to about 50 below
the volcanic arc (Newcomb and McCann, 1987; Fauzi et al.,
1996). The relatively shallow dip angle gives a strong cou-
1084 T.-C. Pan and K. Megawati
Figure 1. Epicenters of earthquake data used in the present study. The selected data
are earthquakes in Sumatra that have occurred within a radius of 1250 km from Sin-
gapore, from 1963 to 1999. The trace of the Sumatra fault is adopted from Sieh and
Natawidjaja (2000).
pling between the overriding and the subducting plates, and
large earthquakes have been generated in the region.
A great earthquake of moment magnitude (M
w
) esti-
mated between 8.8 and 9.2 occurred in 1833, and it was
believed to have caused a 500-km-long rupture along the
interface extending from the southern island of Enggano to
Batu Island. Another great earthquake of M
w
between 8.3
and 8.5 occurred near the Nias Island in 1861 (Newcomb
and McCann, 1987; Zachariasen et al., 1999). The locations
of the islands are shown in Figure 1. Both earthquakes oc-
curred in the subduction zone.
On the land side, a dextral strike-slip fault, the great
Sumatra fault, constitutes yet another source of numerous
earthquakes (Katili and Hehuwat, 1967; Sieh and Natawid-
jaja, 2000). The fault is about 1650 km long and runs
through the entire length of Sumatra, coinciding with the
Bukit Barisan Mountain belt. Unlike many other great strike-
slip faults, the Sumatra fault is highly segmented, so that it
has a limited capability to generate very large earthquakes.
The fault is about 350 km away from the major cities, such
as Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh, and Melaka, on the western
coast of Malay Peninsula.
Earthquake Data of Sumatra
The earthquake data used in the present study are taken
from the Earthquake Data Base System (EDBS) managed by
the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), United
Estimation of Peak Ground Accelerations of the Malay Peninsula due to Distant Sumatra Earthquakes 1085
Figure 2. Empirical relationship between surface-
wave magnitude (M
s
) and body-wave magnitude (m
b
)
constructed using records that have both magnitudes.
Figure 3. Empirical relationship between moment
magnitude (M
w
) and surface-wave magnitude (M
s
)
constructed using records that have both magnitudes.
States Geological Survey (USGS). EDBS is a collation of 54
worldwide or regional catalog, some of which are directly
relevant to this investigation (NEIC, 1994). The data sets
selected for the present study are earthquakes in the Sumatra
region that occurred within a radius of 1250 km from Sin-
gapore, from 1963 to 1999. This time period is chosen be-
cause, unlike the pre-1963 catalogs, the post-1963 PDE cat-
alog covers small and large earthquakes and is considerably
more complete. The older catalogs (the ABE, NOAA, and
Pacheco and Sykes [1992] catalogs) record only large events
with magnitude greater than 6.5. ABE refers to global cat-
alog of large earthquakes occurring from 1897 to 1980,
taken from Abe (1981, 1982, 1984), Abe and Kanamori
(1979), and Abe and Noguchi (1983a,b). NOAA refers to
the listing of large or destructive worldwide historical earth-
quakes occurring from 2150 BC to 1991 (Dunbar et al.,
1992). There are 3896 earthquakes that satisfy these criteria,
and the epicenters of these events are shown in Figure 1.
The majority of the earthquakes (3541 events) has body-
wave magnitude (m
b
) assigned. There are 460 events with
surface-wave magnitude (M
s
) assigned, and only 34 events
have moment magnitude (M
w
). In equation (1), m should
always be of the same type of magnitude, and most of the
recent PGA attenuation relationships (Fukushima and Ta-
naka, 1992; Abrahamson and Shedlock, 1997) were derived
as functions of moment magnitude, M
w
, and distance. There-
fore, a catalog in M
w
is needed for the present study. How-
ever, M
w
is normally determined only for earthquakes of
very large size or of special interest.
It is known that m
b
, which is dened based on the mag-
nitude of the P-wave, begins to saturate at a low magnitude
of about 6.0. Below this magnitude, m
b
would have a linear
correlation with M
s
or M
w
. Out of the 3541 events that have
m
b
, only 32 events have m
b
greater than 6.0, which means
that the majority of the m
b
values can be converted linearly
to either M
s
or M
w
. There are 455 events that have both M
s
and m
b
, but only a few large events have both M
w
and m
b
,
where the m
b
is almost saturated. Therefore, the events that
have both M
s
and m
b
are used to establish a relationship
between M
s
and m
b
. The data are plotted in Figure 2, and
the linear regression gives
M 1.361m 2.125, (3)
s b
with a coefcient of correlation of 0.783. Using the empir-
ical relationship obtained for M
s
and m
b
, the M
s
values were
calculated for those records initially having m
b
only. In this
way, a surface-wave magnitude catalog is constructed for
earthquakes between January 1963 and December 1999.
Most earthquakes in Indonesia are not assigned M
w
val-
ues, but there were 34 events in Sumatra having both M
w
and M
s
. The data are shown in Figure 3, and they are used
to establish a relationship between M
w
and M
s
. It is known
that M
s
starts to saturate at 7.5, and is fully saturated at 8.0.
Below the saturation range, M
s
has a linear correlation with
M
w
. The M
s
catalog that we derived has values ranging from
4.0 to 7.5; thus, it can be converted linearly to form an M
w
catalog. The linear regression of the 32 events that have both
M
w
and M
s
gives
M 1.250 0.834M . (4)
w s
The pattern of the regression is similar to that obtained by
Heaton et al. (1986). Equation (4) is then used to convert
1086 T.-C. Pan and K. Megawati
Table 1
M
min
, M
max
, M

, and k in Regions 1, 2, and 3


for Singapore and Kuala Lumpur
Singapore Kuala Lumpur
Region 1 Region 2 Region 3 Region 1 Region 2
M
min
4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5
M
max
7.8 8.5 9.0 7.8 8.5
M

5.10 5.14 5.19 4.96 5.11


k 1.6245 1.5425 1.4446 2.1842 1.6095
Figure 4. Moment magnitude and distance distri-
bution of earthquakes occurring within 700 km of
Singapore.
M
s
into M
w
to create an M
w
catalog of Sumatra earthquakes
for M
w
4.5.
Probability Density Function f (m)
In this section, the probability density function f (m) of
an earthquake of magnitude m to occur is computed for Su-
matra earthquakes. The magnituderecurrence relationship
is typically in the form of the Gutenberg and Richter (1949)
formula, if there is no limit to earthquake size. In reality,
however, there exists a limit to the size of earthquakes phys-
ically possible in the region studied. There have been several
suggestions for a better description of the magnitude
recurrence relationship. Dong et al. (1984) proposed that the
probability density function f (m) should be
km
ke
f(m) (M m M ), (5)
min max kM kM
e e
min max
where M
max
is the maximum possible earthquake magnitude
for the region studied, M
min
is the minimum magnitude of
the given sample, and the minimum biased estimate of k can
be obtained from the following equation:
kM kM
M e M e 1 min min max max

M, (6)
kM kM
k e e
min max
in which M

is the mean value of the earthquake magnitudes


in the sample. Therefore, f (m) depends on the predetermined
M
min
, the assumed M
max
, and the mean value M

of the mag-
nitudes in the region.
The probability density function f (m) is determined us-
ing the past earthquake distribution shown in Figure 1. These
functions are different for Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, de-
pending on the spatial and magnitude distributions of the
earthquakes with respect to these cities.
f (m) for Singapore
Figure 4 shows the moment magnitude and distance dis-
tribution of earthquakes occurring within 700 km from Sin-
gapore, from January 1963 to December 1999. The solid
circles denote the 923 events with M
w
4.5 recorded in the
37-yr period. The maximum possible magnitude varies spa-
tially, depending on the past earthquake distribution and the
tectonic settings. To determine the maximum magnitude,
older earthquake catalogs are used. These catalogs (ABE,
NOAA, Pacheco and Sykes [1992]) cover a longer time span
from 1900 to 1962 but do not include small earthquakes.
There are eight such events, plotted as solid triangles in Fig-
ure 4.
The Sumatra fault is composed of 19 major segments,
with cross-strike width of step-overs between adjacent seg-
ments of about 5 to 12 km (Sieh and Natawidjaja, 2000).
The historical record shows that the segments of the Sumatra
fault have caused numerous major earthquakes, but their
magnitudes are limited to about 7.5 to 7.8, with the rupture
lengths not greater than 100 km. On the other hand, the
subduction zone has generated several large earthquakes
with M
w
ranging from 8.5 to 9.0. Three regions have thus
been assigned, as shown in Figure 1 and 4. Region 1, from
250 to 500 km, covers the closest segments of the Sumatra
fault and has a maximum magnitude of 7.8. Region 2, from
500 to 600 km, covers the deeper region of the subduction
zone and has a maximum magnitude of 8.5. Region 3, from
600 to 700 km, covers the shallow part of the subduction
zone, where the 1833 event occurred, and has a maximum
magnitude of 9.0. Earthquakes occurring farther than 700
km are not considered because their contributions to F
I
(i) in
equation (1) are negligible, as will be shown later.
Table 1 summarizes the M
min
, M
max
, M

, and k of each
region. The f (m) for each region is plotted in Figure 5, to-
gether with the number of earthquakes of a certain magni-
tude m recorded in the 37-yr period.
f (m) for Kuala Lumpur
Figure 6 shows the moment magnitude and distance dis-
tribution of earthquakes occurring within 600 km of Kuala
Lumpur, from January 1963 to December 1999. The solid
Estimation of Peak Ground Accelerations of the Malay Peninsula due to Distant Sumatra Earthquakes 1087
Figure 5. Probability density function for an
earthquake of magnitude m to occur, f (m), of Regions
1, 2, and 3, with respect to Singapore, together with
the number of earthquakes of magnitude m recorded
from January 1963 to December 1999.
Figure 6. Moment magnitude and distance distri-
bution of earthquakes occurring within 600 km of
Kuala Lumpur.
Figure 7. Probability density function for an
earthquake of magnitude m to occur, f (m), of Regions
1 and 2, with respect to Kuala Lumpur, together with
the number of earthquakes of magnitude m recorded
from January 1963 to December 1999.
circles denote the 612 events with M
w
4.5 recorded for the
period. To determine the maximum magnitude, the older
earthquake catalogs are used. There were nine large events
that occurred between 1900 and 1962, plotted as triangles in
Figure 6. Two regions are assigned, as shown in Figures 1
and 6. Region 1 covers only the Sumatra fault, and Region
2 covers the subduction zone where the historical M
w
8.5
earthquake occurred in 1861. The maximum magnitude for
Regions 1 and 2 are 7.8 and 8.5, respectively.
Table 1 summarizes the M
min
, M
max
, M

, and k of each
region. The f (m) for each region is plotted in Figure 7, to-
gether with the number of earthquakes of a certain magni-
tude m recorded in the 37-yr period.
Probability Density Function h(r)
The probability density function h(r) of earthquake oc-
currence with respect to distance is determined using the
earthquake distributions from January 1963 to December
1999, assuming that future earthquakes with M
w
4.5 will
have the same spatial distribution as those that have occurred
in the past 37 yr.
h(r) for Singapore
The probability density function h(r) for Singapore is
determined using the earthquake distribution shown in Fig-
ure 4. The area is divided into concentric rings of 50-km
width. The h(r) is then calculated by dividing the number of
earthquakes within each of the 50-km-width rings by the
total number of earthquakes and further divided by the in-
terval width of 50 km. The h(r) function is shown in Figure
1088 T.-C. Pan and K. Megawati
Figure 8. Probability density function of earth-
quake occurrence as a function of distance, h(r), with
respect to Singapore.
Figure 9. Probability density function of earth-
quake occurrence as a function of distance, h(r), with
respect to Kuala Lumpur.
8, together with the number of earthquakes within a distance
r. The total area of is equal to 1.0.
700
h(r)dr
250
h(r) for Kuala Lumpur
The probability density function h(r) for Kuala Lumpur
is determined using the earthquake distribution shown in
Figure 6. Similar to what was done for Singapore, the area
is divided into concentric rings of 50-km width. The h(r)
function is shown in Figure 9, together with the number
of earthquakes within a distance r. The total area of
is equal to 1.0.
600
h(r)dr
200
Attenuation Relationship for Long-Distance
Sumatra Earthquakes
Usually an attenuation relationship for a specic region
is empirically developed from statistical regression analyses
of many earthquake ground-motion records in the region.
However, for distant Sumatra earthquakes, where systematic
recording was set up in Singapore only in 1996, it is not
possible to do so because the accumulated data have not been
adequate. To overcome this limitation, several existing at-
tenuation relationships derived for other regions are exam-
ined to nd a suitable attenuation relationship for Sumatra.
Most of the existing attenuation functions were derived for
short to medium distance earthquakes, and they are extrap-
olated to long distance (5001400 km) to examine the tting
to the recorded PGAs in Singapore.
The rst attenuation relationship considered is by Fu-
kushima and Tanaka (1992), which was a slight revision of
Fukushima and Tanaka (1990). The model was derived
mainly from earthquakes in Japan, with supplementary data
from earthquakes in the United States and other countries.
A two-step stratied regression procedure was applied to
avoid interaction between magnitude and distance of differ-
ent earthquakes. This model was intended to be used in Ja-
pan for earthquakes with epicentral distance less than 300
km. The equation is given as
log(PGA) 0.42M log(R 0.025
w (7)
0.42M
w
10 ) 0.0033R 1.22,
where PGA is the peak horizontal acceleration in cm/sec
2
,
M
w
is the moment magnitude, and R is the shortest distance
from the fault plane to the site in km. A multiplier of 0.6
should be applied to the calculated PGA of equation (7), to
obtain the peak horizontal acceleration for a rock site.
The second attenuation relationship examined is the
model derived by Youngs et al. (1997) for subduction zone
interface earthquakes. The data used in this model were from
worldwide subduction earthquakes of moment magnitude
5.0 and greater and for distances of 10500 km. The rela-
tionship for rock sites is given as
ln(PGA) 7.1304 1.414M 2.552ln(R
w rup
0.554M
w
1.7818e ) 0.00607 H, (8)
where R
rup
is the closest distance to the rupture surface in
km, H is the focal depth in km; H is taken to be 33.0 km in
the present study because the majority of the Sumatra earth-
quakes have shallow depth.
The third equation investigated is the attenuation rela-
tionship derived by Boore et al. (1997) from Western North
American earthquakes. The data set was restricted to shallow
earthquakes with moment magnitude greater than 5.0 and
with fault rupture mainly above a depth of 20 km. The equa-
tion was intended to estimate the PGAs of earthquakes with
distance smaller than 80 km in a seismically active region.
The equation is given as
Estimation of Peak Ground Accelerations of the Malay Peninsula due to Distant Sumatra Earthquakes 1089
Figure 10. Recorded PGAs in Singapore due to
recent Sumatra earthquakes, together with four atten-
uation relationships considered in this study.
ln(PGA) 6.647 0.527(M 6)
w
V
s 2
0.778 ln R 31.025 0.371ln , (9) jb
1396
where R
jb
is the closest horizontal distance to the vertical
projection of the rupture in km, and V
s
is the average shear-
wave velocity to 30-m depth in m/sec, which is taken to be
750 m/sec for rock sites. The coefcients in the equation
were determined using a weighted, two-stage regression pro-
cedure.
The fourth equation examined is the attenuation derived
by Atkinson and Boore (1995) for eastern North America.
Due to low seismicity in this stable continental region, the
attenuation relationship was based on stochastically simu-
lated ground motions instead of recorded ones. The equation
was derived for estimating ground motions from eastern
North American earthquakes of M
w
between 4.0 and 7.25,
at distances of 10 to 500 km. The equation is given as
log(PGA) 3.79 0.298(M 6)
w
2
0.0536(M 6) logR 0.00135R , (10)
w hypo hypo
where R
hypo
is the hypocentral distance in km.
In accordance with the public awareness of seismic haz-
ard, the Meteorological Service Singapore installed a net-
work of seven seismic stations in Singapore in 1996. The
main station in Bukit Timah, which is a member of the
Global Seismic Network, is equipped with a comprehensive
set of sensors to record ground tremors continuously. The
station is located on a rock outcrop site. It has recorded 52
seismic tremors, including the mainshock and two major af-
tershocks of the recent Bengkulu earthquake. The earth-
quakes had moment magnitudes ranging from 4.7 to 7.7, at
distances of 4701400 km. The majority of the earthquakes
had focal depths shallower than 60 km. The recorded PGAs
are shown in Figure 10, together with the four attenuation
relationships (equations 810). Different source-to-site dis-
tance measures used in the previous equations are treated as
epicentral distance, so that they can be drawn in the same
gure. This is an acceptable treatment for long-distance
earthquakes. In the long-distance range, the Boore et al.
(1997) relationship predicts the largest PGA among the four
models, much larger than the observed PGAs. This may be
attributed to the fact that their equation was derived to es-
timate PGA of near-eld earthquakes only. Although the
Atkinson and Boore (1995) attenuation relationship was to
cover long-distance earthquakes, it also overpredicts the ob-
served PGAs. Eastern North America, which is a stable con-
tinental region, might have a lower attenuation rate than the
seismically active Sumatra region. Fukushima and Tanaka
(1992) and Youngs et al. (1997) give similar predictions for
magnitude less than 6.0 and distance less than 200 km, but
the former predicts much lower PGA as the distance in-
creases. Among the four models, that of Fukushima and Ta-
naka (1992) gives the highest attenuation rate for distance
larger than 200 km, and it ts the observed data very well.
Fukushima and Tanaka (1992) applied distance selection cri-
teria to obtain consistent attenuation rates within and beyond
the distance range of the data used in deriving the relation-
ship (Fukushima and Tanaka, 1990; Fukushima, 1997).
Table 2 shows the observed PGAs that have values
1090 T.-C. Pan and K. Megawati
Table 2
Fourteen Earthquakes with Observed PGA 0.01 gals, with log (PGA)
for Observed and Predicted Values*
Magnitude log(PGA)
No. DateUTC m
b
M
s
M
w
Distance
(km)
Depth
(km)
PGA
(gal) Observed Predicted Deviation
1 19961010152104 5.7 6.1 6.3 689 33 0.0426 1.3706 1.4747 0.1041
2 19970317080548 5.8 6.2 6.4 909 33 0.0112 1.9508 2.2779 0.3271
3 19970422055559 5.6 5.5 5.9 557 107 0.0259 1.5867 1.1136 0.4731
4 19970518221418 5.0 5.1 5.4 576 33 0.0116 1.9355 1.3986 0.5370
5 19970707112437 5.4 5.7 5.9 689 28 0.0213 1.6716 1.6405 0.0311
6 19970820071515 5.9 6.0 6.0 875 33 0.0365 1.4377 2.3154 0.8777
7 19971218054657 5.3 5.5 5.7 592 33 0.0113 1.9469 1.3383 0.6086
8 19980401175623 6.2 6.9 7.0 545 55 0.1080 0.9666 0.6138 0.3528
9 19990918125235 5.1 5.2 5.6 602 33 0.0141 1.8508 1.4260 0.4248
10 19990922072257 4.7 4.4 4.9 484 33 0.0105 1.9788 1.2206 0.7582
11 19991221141457 6.1 6.2 6.6 934 55 0.0269 1.5702 2.2892 0.7190
12 20000604162825 8.0 7.7 705 33 0.3820 0.4179 0.9677 0.5498
13 20000604163945 6.6 6.9 7.0 691 33 0.4560 0.3410 1.2097 0.8687
14 20000607234526 6.2 6.7 6.8 694 33 0.0900 1.0458 1.2741 0.2283
*Predicted values according to the Fukushima and Tanaka (1992) attenuation relationship.
Figure 11. Probability of ground motion I ex-
ceeding a value of i if an earthquake occurs in a dis-
tance between 250 and 700 km from Singapore, F
I
(i).
greater than 0.01 gal. There are 14 such events. The values
predicted by Fukushima and Tanaka (1992) and the devia-
tion of the log(PGA) between the observed and predicted
values are also listed. The average deviation is calculated to
be 0.49, while the average deviation for the whole set of 52
events is 0.52, which is just slightly higher. We therefore
adopted as the attenuation relationship the Fukushima and
Tanaka (1992) model, with a standard deviation of 0.49. The
probability of PGAexceeding a given value i due to an earth-
quake with magnitude m at distance r, P[I i|m, r] in equa-
tion (1), can then be calculated, assuming a normal distri-
bution of log(PGA). Therefore, the standard deviation of the
attenuation relationship affects the exceedance probability,
in the way that a smaller standard deviation results in a lower
exceedance probability.
Estimation of Peak Ground Acceleration
All elements f (m), h(r), and P[I i|m, r] that are re-
quired by equation (1) for the probabilistic seismic hazard
assessment of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur have been de-
ned. The probability of a given ground acceleration being
exceeded by any earthquake in the region, F
I
(i), and the
PGAs for various levels of probability of being exceeded in
50 yr are calculated. The magnitude interval, dm, and dis-
tance interval, dr, in equation (1) are taken to be 0.1 and
10.0 km, respectively.
Estimated PGA for Rock Sites in Singapore
Figure 11 shows the probability of ground motion I ex-
ceeding a value of i if an earthquake occurs at a distance
between 250 and 700 km from Singapore, F
I
(i). Two atten-
uation equations, Fukushima and Tanaka (1992) and Youngs
et al. (1997), are considered. Two values of standard devi-
ation are used for Fukushima and Tanaka (1992) r 0.21
and r 0.49. The former value is the standard deviation of
Fukushima and Tanaka (1990) derived from earthquake data
up to a distance of 300 km, and the latter is the value derived
in the present study for longer distance. The standard devi-
ation of Youngs et al. (1997) is taken to be 0.35, which is
the value suggested for magnitude 6.5 in the study. The g-
ure shows that for a certain i, the exceedance probability
using the Youngs et al. (1997) attenuation relationship is
larger than that using Fukushima and Tanaka (1992), which
can also be seen in Figure 10, where the former predicts a
larger PGA than the latter does. For the same attenuation
relationship, the larger the standard deviation, the higher the
exceedance probability.
Estimation of Peak Ground Accelerations of the Malay Peninsula due to Distant Sumatra Earthquakes 1091
Figure 12. Probability of ground acceleration i
being exceeded in 50 yr, for Singapore.
Table 3
Ground Acceleration (gal) That Has 10% Probability of Being
Exceeded in 50 Years, for Singapore and Kuala Lumpur
Fukushima and Tanaka
(1992) Youngs et al. (1997)
City r 0.21 r 0.49 r 0.35
Singapore 3.3 12.7 44.3
Kuala Lumpur 7.4 29.5 44.7
Figure 12 shows the probability of ground acceleration
i being exceeded in 50 yr. In the region considered, 922
earthquakes have occurred between January 1963 and De-
cember 1999. Thus, the average occurrence rate is 24.9
earthquakes per year. For 10% probability of i being ex-
ceeded, P
E
0.1, which is equivalent to F
I
(i) 8.447
10
5
, the values of i are summarized in Table 3. Note that
the PGA with 10% probability of being exceeded in 50 yr
is often used to dene the design-basis earthquake. There-
fore, PGA 12.7 gal is the value associated with the
design-basis earthquake. Considering Fukushima and Ta-
naka (1992) with r 0.49, the PGAs of 50% and 2% prob-
ability of being exceeded in 50 yr are 5.6 and 24.3 gal, re-
spectively. These probability values are generally referred
to as the probable earthquake and the maximum credible
earthquake, respectively.
To understand which earthquakes create the anticipated
ground motions, Figure 13 shows the F
I
(i) of i 12.7 gal
as functions of magnitude m and distance r, using the Fu-
kushima and Tanaka (1992) model with r 0.49. The total
volume under the surface is equal to the probability of 12.7
gal being exceeded by an earthquake occurring in the region,
which is equal to 8.477 10
5
. It can be seen that the main
contributions, about 81% of the total volume, come from
earthquakes within 250 to 500 km, although the probability
of earthquake occurrence in this distance range is only
17.8%. Contributions from earthquakes within the range
from 600 to 700 km are about 3%, although the maximum
magnitude considered is 9.0. Looking at the trend, the con-
tribution from earthquakes located more than 700 km away
would be negligible.
Estimated PGA for Rock Site in Kuala Lumpur
Figure 14 shows the probability of ground motion I ex-
ceeding a value of i if an earthquake occurs in the region
between 200 and 600 km from Kuala Lumpur, F
I
(i). It also
shows that for a given i, the exceedance probability using
the Youngs et al. (1997) attenuation relationship is larger
than that of Fukushima and Tanaka (1992).
Figure 15 shows the probability of ground acceleration
i being exceeded in 50 yr. Between January 1963 and De-
cember 1999, 612 earthquakes occurred in the region con-
sidered. Thus, the average occurrence rate is 16.5 earth-
quakes per year. For 10% probability of i being exceeded,
P
E
0.1, which is equivalent to F
I
(i) 1.274 10
4
,
the values of i are summarized in Table 3. The PGA is 29.5
gal for the design-basis earthquake. Considering Fukushima
and Tanaka (1992) with r 0.49, the probable and the
maximum credible PGAs are 13.3 and 55.1 gal, respectively.
Figure 16 shows the F
I
(i) of i 29.5 gal as functions
of magnitude m and distance r, using Fukushima and Tanaka
(1992) with r 0.49. The total volume under the surface
is equal to 1.274 10
4
. It can be seen that the main con-
tributions, about 91% of the total volume, come from earth-
quake within a distance of 200400 km, although the prob-
ability of earthquake occurrence in this distance range is
only 27.3%. Contributions from earthquake farther than 500
km are less than 1%, so that excluding earthquakes with
distance greater than 600 km is justiable.
Discussion
The choice of an attenuation relationship is a critical
step in seismic hazard assessment analysis. Based on the
PGAs recorded in Singapore of 52 recent Sumatra earth-
quakes, the Fukushima and Tanaka (1992) relationship ap-
pears to t much better to the observed data than the other
attenuation relations do, as shown in Figure 10. However,
Figure 10 also shows that for M
w
larger than 6.0, the Fu-
kushima and Tanaka (1992) relationship seems to underpre-
dict the observed data. The fact that the long-distance data
have been observed over a short 4-yr period at a single sta-
tion might suggest unsteadiness in the tting. The derived
standard deviation of 0.49, which is larger than the 0.21
suggested by Fukushima and Tanaka (1990), was therefore
adopted in the present study to accommodate the unsteadi-
ness. The Youngs et al. (1997) relationship is the second
best in tting the observed data, especially for large distance
and magnitude. By using the Youngs et al. (1997) attenua-
tion relationship, the PGAs estimated for 10% exceedance
1092 T.-C. Pan and K. Megawati
Figure 13. Probability of PGA exceeding 12.7 gal for Singapore as a function of
earthquake magnitude and distance, using Fukushima and Tanaka (1992) as the atten-
uation relationship with r 0.49.
Figure 14. Probability of ground motion I ex-
ceeding a value of i if an earthquake occurs at a dis-
tance between 200 and 600 km from Kuala Lumpur,
F
I
(i).
Figure 15. Probability of ground acceleration i
being exceeded in 50 yr, for Kuala Lumpur.
probability in 50 yr in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are 3.5
and 1.5 times, respectively, of those estimated based on the
Fukushima and Tanaka (1992) relationship. The estimated
values for Kuala Lumpur do not differ much between the
two attenuation relationships, because the contribution from
earthquakes with epicentral distance between 200 and 350
km (see Fig. 16) is predominant, and the PGAs predicted by
the two attenuation equations in this distance range are con-
sistent.
The probability of ground motions in the two cities con-
tributed by other earthquake sources has not been included
here. First, the pattern of the spatial distribution of earth-
quakes is based on earthquake data from 1963 to 1999. If
the reference time span had been longer, earthquakes occur-
ring closer to the cities might have had to be taken into
account. Although these are rare events, their contributions
to the total probability of a given PGA being exceeded can
be signicant. This trend has been shown in Figures 13 and
16 that earthquakes occurring closer to the respective cities
Estimation of Peak Ground Accelerations of the Malay Peninsula due to Distant Sumatra Earthquakes 1093
Figure 16. Probability of PGA exceeding 29.5 gal in Kuala Lumpur as a function
of earthquake magnitude and distance, using Fukushima and Tanaka (1992) as the
attenuation relationship with r 0.49.
contribute signicantly to the exceedance probability of a
given PGA value, although the probability of occurrence of
the short-distance earthquakes is small. Second, no allow-
ance has been made for local earthquakes, and only Sumatra
earthquakes have been taken into consideration. The Malay
Peninsula is considered a low-seismicity region. Several
known inactive faults have not slipped in the modern history
of the Peninsula. These faults might slip at some time in the
future and could generate small- to moderate-size earth-
quakes, which would affect the area much more greatly than
huge earthquakes at a far distance.
Although Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are located in
the same low-seismicity region, Kuala Lumpur has a 500-yr
return-period PGA more than two times that of Singapore.
This is because Kuala Lumpur is closer to the northern Su-
matra seismic zone, as shown in Figure 1. There are more
earthquakes within a radius of 350 km from Kuala Lumpur
than those within the same radius from Singapore.
Conclusions
Based on the PGAs recorded recently in Singapore of
distant Sumatran earthquakes, it has been found that the re-
gion has a high attenuation rate, which might be attributed
to the seismic and volcanic activities along the western coast
of Sumatra Island. Given that the tectonic setting of Sumatra
and the Malay Peninsula is similar to that of Japan, the Q
value of the Sumatra region is likely to be comparable to
that of Japan. The attenuation relationship of Fukushima and
Tanaka (1992) has been shown to t well to the observed
long-distance Sumatran seismic data.
The design-basis PGAs on rock outcrop sites in Singa-
pore and Kuala Lumpur have been computed based on prob-
abilistic analysis of the earthquake data of Sumatra in the
past 37 yr and adopting the Fukushima and Tanaka (1990)
attenuation relationship. The PGA values are 12.7 and 29.5
gal for Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, respectively. The de-
sign PGA value is higher for Kuala Lumpur because of its
proximity to the northern Sumatra seismic zone.
Current building design codes in Singapore and Malay-
sia have been formulated largely based on the BS8110 Code
(British Standards Institution, 1985), which does not have
any provision for seismic loading. It does, however, require
that all buildings be capable of resisting a notional ultimate
horizontal design load applied at each oor level simulta-
neously, for structural robustness. The notional horizontal
load is equal to 1.5% of the characteristic dead weight of a
structure, and the design wind load should not be taken less
than this value. Given the moderate design wind speed of
30 m/sec in Singapore, the notional horizontal load is gen-
erally greater than the wind loading for most buildings.
Thus, the notional horizontal load is usually the governing
lateral load. The base shear force resulting from the calcu-
lated design-basis PGAs of 1.3% g and 3.0% g for rock
outcrop site are therefore comparable to the capacity re-
quired by the notional horizontal load. The maximum cred-
ible PGAs of 2.4% g in Singapore and 5.5% g in Kuala
Lumpur would certainly produce a base shear force higher
than that stipulated in the current building codes.
The design-basis PGAs for soft-soil sites or reclaimed
land could be estimated based on the PGA values for rock
outcrop sites using the site response analysis. Knowing that
soft-soil deposits are exposed extensively in the two cities
and that areas of reclaimed land are increasing, the seismic
hazard, especially to medium- and high-rise buildings in
these sites, should be investigated further.
1094 T.-C. Pan and K. Megawati
Acknowledgments
The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of Research
Fellow Dr. Jichun Sun in the initial stage of this study. The Sumatra earth-
quake data used in the analysis were compiled by Research Scholar Mr.
Chin Long Lee.
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Protective Technology Research Centre
School of Civil and Structural Engineering
Nanyang Technological University
Block N1, Nanyang Avenue
Singapore 639798
Republic of Singapore
Manuscript received 27 February 2001.