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Machine learning in ground motion prediction

Farid Khosravikia, Patricia Clayton
Computers & geosciences 2021 v.148 pp. 104700
databases, geophysics, neural networks, prediction, regression analysis, support vector machines, uncertainty, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas
This paper studies the advantages and disadvantages of different machine learning techniques in predicting ground-motion intensity measures given source characteristics, source-to-site distance, and local site conditions. Typically, linear regression-based models with predefined equations and coefficients are used in ground motion prediction. However, restrictions of the linear regression models may limit their capabilities in extracting complex nonlinear behaviors in the data. Therefore, the present paper comparatively investigates potential benefits from employing other machine learning techniques as statistical method in ground motion prediction such as Artificial Neural Network, Random Forest, and Support Vector Machine. This study quantifies event-to-event and site-to-site variability of the ground motions by implementing them as random effect terms to reduce the aleatory uncertainty. All the algorithms are trained using a selected database of 4528 ground-motions, including 376 seismic events with magnitude 3 to 5.8, recorded over the hypocentral distance range of 4–500 km in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas since 2005. The results indicate the algorithms satisfy some physically sound characteristics such as magnitude scaling distance dependency without requiring predefined equations or coefficients. Moreover, it is found that, when sufficient data is available, all the alternative algorithms tend to provide more accurate estimates compared to the conventional linear regression-based method, and particularly, Random Forest outperforms the other algorithms. However, the conventional method is a better tool when limited data is available.