This study examines the rationale of Hilbert-Huang transform (HHT) for analyzing dynamic and earthquake motion recordings in studies of seismology and engineering. In particular, this paper first provides the fundamentals of the HHT method, which consist of the empirical mode decomposition (EMD) and the Hilbert spectral analysis. It then uses the HHT to analyze recordings of hypothetical and real wave motion, the results of which are compared with the results obtained by the Fourier data processing technique. The analysis of the two recordings indicates that the HHT method is able to extract some motion characteristics useful in studies of seismology and engineering, which might not be exposed effectively and efficiently by Fourier data processing technique. Specifically, the study indicates that the decomposed components in EMD of HHT, namely, the intrinsic mode function (IMF) components, contain observable, physical information inherent to the original data. It also shows that the grouped IMF components, namely, the EMD-based low- and high-frequency components, can faithfully capture low-frequency pulse-like as well as high-frequency wave signals. Finally, the study illustrates that the HHT-based Hilbert spectra are able to reveal the temporal-frequency energy distribution for motion recordings precisely and clearly.
Additional publication details
Hilbert-Huang transform analysis of dynamic and earthquake motion recordings