The Seattle fault poses a significant seismic hazard to the city of Seattle, Washington. A hybrid, low-frequency, high-frequency method is used to calculate broadband (0-20 Hz) ground-motion time histories for a M 6.5 earthquake on the Seattle fault. Low frequencies (<1 Hz) are calculated using a deterministic approach and finite difference in a 3D velocity model. High frequencies (>1 Hz) are calculated by a stochastic method that uses a fractal subevent size distribution to give an ??-2 displacement spectrum. Time histories are calculated for a grid of stations and then corrected for the local site response using a classification scheme based on the surficial geology. Average shear-wave velocity profiles are developed for six surficial geologic units: artificial fill, modified land, Esperance sand, Lawton clay, till, and Tertiary sandstone. These profiles together with other soil parameters are used to compare linear, equivalent-linear, and nonlinear predictions of ground motion in the frequency band 0-15 Hz. Linear site-response corrections are found to yield unreasonably large ground motions. Equivalent-linear and nonlinear calculations give peak values similar to the 1994 Northridge, California, earthquake and those predicted by regression relationships. Ground-motion variance is estimated for (1) randomization of the velocity profiles, (2) variation in source parameters, and (3) choice of nonlinear model. Within the limits of the models tested, the results are found to be most sensitive to the nonlinear model and soil parameters, notably the over consolidation ratio.
Additional publication details
Simulation of broadband ground motion including nonlinear soil effects for a magnitude 6.5 earthquake on the Seattle fault, Seattle, Washington