Recordings of the 1999 Mw 7.6 Chi-Chi (Taiwan) earthquake, two local earthquakes, and five blasts show seismic-wave amplification over a large sedimentary basin in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. For weak ground motions from the Chi-Chi earthquake, the Seattle basin amplified 0.2- to 0.8-Hz waves by factors of 8 to 16 relative to bedrock sites west of the basin. The amplification and peak frequency change during the Chi-Chi coda: the initial S-wave arrivals (0-30 sec) had maximum amplifications of 12 at 0.5-0.8 Hz, whereas later arrivals (35-65 sec) reached amplifications of 16 at 0.3-0.5 Hz. Analysis of local events in the 1.0- to 10.0-Hz frequency range show fourfold amplifications for 1.0-Hz weak ground motion over the Seattle basin. Amplifications decrease as frequencies increase above 1.0 Hz, with frequencies above 7 Hz showing lower amplitudes over the basin than at bedrock sites. Modeling shows that resonance in low-impedance deposits forming the upper 550 m of the basin beneath our profile could cause most of the observed amplification, and the larger amplification at later arrival times suggests surface waves also play a substantial role. These results emphasize the importance of shallow deposits in determining ground motions over large basins.
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Amplification of seismic waves by the Seattle basin, Washington State