Reliability of MEMS accelerometers for instrumental intensity mapping of earthquakes

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Tanırcan G., Alçık H., Beyen K.

Annals of Geophysics, vol.60, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 60
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.4401/ag-7501
  • Journal Name: Annals of Geophysics
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Kocaeli University Affiliated: Yes


This work investigates suitability of low cost Micro-Electro Mechanical
System (MEMS) sensors in strong motion related studies, particularly
in dense arrays utilized in producing quick shaking intensity
maps. Two types of MEMS sensors (MEMS-5 and MEMS-50) and a
reference sensor are tested under excitations of sweeping waves and
scaled earthquake recordings. Transfer functions and correlation coefficients
are compared. As for earthquake recordings, comparisons are
carried out in terms of basic strong motion parameters and elastic response
of structures that influences the design majors. The performance
of the MEMS-50 sensor is also investigated on free field conditions. Different
sensing characteristics are compared by performing time frequency
analyses of small earthquake ground motion recordings of the
MEMS-50 based accelerometer and of a co-located reference accelerometer.
Test results show that the MEMS-50 sensor is able to record
the mid-frequency dominant strong motion parameters with high correlation,
where the high frequency components of the ground motion
are underestimated. Such a difference in strong motion parameters on
the other hand, does not manifest itself on empirical instrumental intensity
estimations. Strong motion parameters from the reference and
MEMS sensors converge to the same seismic intensity level. Hence a
strong motion network with MEMS-50 sensors could be a modest option
to produce peak ground velocity-based damage impact of an urban
area under large-magnitude earthquake threats in the immediate vicinity.
MEMS-5, which is an upper quality ensemble, is recommended for
wide range of application including peak ground acceleration-based
and peak ground velocity-based rapid shake maps.