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Effects of ground on earthquake motion

Gutenberg, B. (1957) Effects of ground on earthquake motion. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 47 (3). pp. 221-250. ISSN 0037-1106.

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Earthquake damage at a given location depends on properties of the arriving elastic waves, of the ground at the shaken site, and of the structures involved. To investigate effects of the ground on the motion at the surface, five identical seismographs have been operated temporarily at 25 locations within 30 miles from the Seismological Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, and their records have been compared with those written by an identical instrument recording in routine at the Seismological Laboratory. The ratio of amplitudes at sites on fairly dry alluvium more than 500 feet deep to those at the Seismological Laboratory (on crystalline rock) is frequently 5 : 1 or more for earthquake waves having periods of 1 to 1 1/2 sec. For waves having periods of 0.1 ± sec. and waves having periods exceeding 10 sec. (length more than 10 miles) the corresponding differences in amplitudes are small. Amplitudes of earthquake waves and of the continuous unrest of the ground recorded at sites on water-saturated soft ground may be ten times those recorded at the Laboratory. The period of waves for which the response relative to that at the Seismological Laboratory is greatest usually decreases as the thickness of the alluvium decreases and is about ¼ sec. at stations on alluvium 100 ± feet thick. At stations on crystalline rock the motion of the ground does not differ significantly from that at the Laboratory for waves having periods exceeding ¼ sec. At sites on alluvium, relatively strong shaking lasts several times as long as at those on crystalline rock; usually this ratio decreases with decreasing thickness of the alluvium. Ground effects may produce appreciable differences in duration and amount of shaking even at localities only a fraction of a mile apart. The importance of selecting crystalline rock or at least dry ground and avoiding water-saturated soft ground for foundations of buildings to reduce potential earthquake damage is stressed.

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Additional Information:Copyright © 1957, by the Seismological Society of America. Manuscript received for publication April 11, 1957. The present research would not have been possible without the cooperation of the various organizations and persons who volunteered to have a seismograph installed in their buildings or have participated otherwise in the investigation. In addition to staff members and assistants of the Seismological Laboratory whose names are marked by asterisks in the list of stations, there are included: the Pasadena City Board of Education; Dr. S. F. McComb, Superintendent of the Schools; Mr. William Krantz, Superintendent of Maintenance, Pasadena City Schools; the principals of the schools listed; Dr. J. E. Pomfret, Director of the Huntington Library; Mr. F. B. Runyon, Editor-in-Chief of the Pasadena Star-News; Mr. C. E. Martin, City Manager, San Marino; Mr. Eriekson, Business Manager, and Mr. J. H. Park, Consulting Engineer, Compton City Schools; Mr. Stevens, City Manager, Mr. D. W. Mansfield, Assistant City Manager, and Mr. Patrick, City Engineer, Torrance; Dr. N. D. Myers, Superintendent, Palos Verdes School District; Mr. H. E. Robinson, City Engineer, Huntington Park; Mr. R. Griffith, of Lehner and Griffith, Altadena; Mrs. E. Frackelton; all those who faithfully have changed records, including Dr. Markus Båth; Mr. F. Lehner and his aides, who have installed and supervised all assemblies; Miss G. Killeen, who has unfailingly developed and finished the approximately thousand records; Mr. J. M. Nordquist, who has arranged and drafted most of the figures; the Los Angeles Office of the State of California Department of Water Resources and the Pasadena Water Department, for information on the ground-water table; Drs. Allen, Benioff, Press, and Richter, for discussions and suggestions; and the Donors for Earthquake Research at the Seismological Laboratory, whose financial support was used for part of the research.
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Donors for Earthquake Research at the Seismological LaboratoryUNSPECIFIED
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Caltech Division of Geological Sciences831
Issue or Number:3
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:48092
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:06 Aug 2014 20:21
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 07:00

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