Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 583–602 | Cite as

The pan-European engineering strong motion (ESM) flatfile: consistency check via residual analysis

  • D. BindiEmail author
  • S.-R. Kotha
  • G. Weatherill
  • G. Lanzano
  • L. Luzi
  • F. Cotton
Original Research


We present the results of a consistency check performed over the flatfile extracted from the engineering strong motion (ESM) database. The flatfile includes 23,014 recordings from 2179 earthquakes in the magnitude range from 3.5 to 7.8 that occurred since the 1970s in Europe and Middle East, as presented in the companion article by Lanzano et al. (Bull Earthq Eng, 2018a). The consistency check is developed by analyzing different residual distributions obtained from ad-hoc ground motion prediction equations for the absolute spectral acceleration (SA), displacement and Fourier amplitude spectra (FAS). Only recordings from earthquakes shallower than 40 km are considered in the analysis. The between-event, between-station and event-and-station corrected residuals are computed by applying a mixed-effect regression. We identified those earthquakes, stations, and recordings showing the largest deviations from the GMPE median predictions, and also evaluated the statistical uncertainty on the median model to get insights on the applicable magnitude–distance ranges and the usable period (or frequency) range. We observed that robust median predictions are obtained up to 8 s for SA and up to 20 Hz for FAS, although median predictions for Mw ≥ 7 show significantly larger uncertainties with ‘bumps’ starting above 5 s for SA and below 0.3 Hz for FAS. The between-station variance dominates over the other residual variances, and the dependence of the between-station residuals on logarithm of Vs30 is well-described by a piece-wise linear function with period-dependent slopes and hinge velocity around 580 m/s. Finally, we compared the between-event residuals obtained by considering two different sources of moment magnitude. The results show that, at long periods, the between-event terms from the two regressions have a weak correlation and the overall between-event variability is dissimilar, highlighting the importance of magnitude source in the regression results.


Ground motion prediction equation Residual analysis European strong motion data 



This work has been developed within the European Plate Observing System (EPOS; and the Seismology and Earthquake Engineering Research Infrastructure Alliance for Europe (SERA; projects. Comments from B. Edwards and one anonymous reviewer helped us to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZPotsdamGermany
  2. 2.Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia INGVMilanItaly
  3. 3.University of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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