Resonances observed in earthquake seismograms recorded in Seattle, Washington, the central United States and Sherman Oaks, California, are correlated with each site's respective near-surface seismic velocity profile and reflectivity determined from shallow seismic-reflection/refraction surveys. In all of these cases the resonance accounts for the highest amplitude shaking at the site above 1 Hz. These results show that imaging near-surface reflections from the ground surface can locate impedance structures that are important contributors to earthquake ground shaking. A high-amplitude S-wave reflection, recorded 250-m northeast and 300-m east of the Seattle Kingdome earthquake-recording station, with a two-way travel time of about 0.23 to 0.27 sec (about 18- to 22-m depth) marks the boundary between overlying alluvium (VS < 180 m/sec) and a higher velocity material (VS about 400 m/sec). This reflector probably causes a strong 2-Hz resonance that is observed in the earthquake data for the site near the Kingdome. In the central United States, S-wave reflections from a high-impedance boundary (an S-wave velocity increase from about 200 m/sec to 2000 m/sec) at about 40-m depth corresponds to a strong fundamental resonance at about 1.5 Hz. In Sherman Oaks, strong resonances at about 1.0 and 4 Hz are consistently observed on earthquake seismograms. A strong S-wave reflector at about 40-m depth may cause the 1.0 Hz resonance. The 4.0-Hz resonance is possibly explained by constructive interference between the first overtone of the 1.0-Hz resonance and a 3.25- to 3.9-Hz resonance calculated from an areally consistent impedance boundary at about 10-m depth as determined by S-wave refraction data.
Additional publication details
Correlation of 1- to 10-Hz earthquake resonances with surface measurements of S-wave reflections and refractions in the upper 50 m