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Published May 2021 | public
Journal Article

Seismic harmonic response of inhomogeneous soil: scaling analysis


The study of the seismic response of inhomogeneous soil deposits, underlying rigid bedrock, has traditionally been framed as a one-dimensional wave propagation problem in a linear viscoelastic medium. When it comes to modelling soil inhomogeneity, the current trend to model the continuous variation of soil stiffness with depth employs a 'generalised parabolic function'. Exact solutions have already been obtained, but these come in terms of Bessel functions, which muddle the interpretation of results and obstruct assessment of the parameters' influence. This also hinders the definition of an 'equivalent homogeneous' soil deposit (a relevant concept utilised in many seismic codes). It is shown herein that the so-called inhomogeneity factor plays a secondary role in determining the response in many cases; thus straightforward guidelines are suggested for simplifying the problem, leading to elementary scaling relations. The scalings provide simple yet meaningful relations that reveal and explain the fundamental traits of the dynamic behaviour of these systems.

Additional Information

© ICE Publishing 2021. Manuscript received 1 February 2019; revised manuscript accepted 21 February 2020. Published online ahead of print 24 March 2020. The first author would like, first, to thank the Tyson family for funding his work at Caltech through the Tyson Graduate Fellowship, and second, to dedicate this work to Professor Fernando Medina from University of Seville (Spain), mentor and friend.

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 23, 2023