The Taipei basin, located in northwest Taiwan about 160 km from the epicenter of the Chi-Chi earthquake, is a shallow, triangular-shaped basin filled with low-velocity fluvial deposits. There is a strong velocity contrast across the basement interface of about 600 m/sec at a depth of about 600-700 m in the deeper section of the basin, suggesting that ground motion should be amplified at sites in the basin. In this article, the ground-motion recordings are analyzed to determine the effect of the basin both in terms of amplifications expected from a 1D model of the sediments in the basin and in terms of the 3D structure of the basin. Residuals determined for peak acceleration from attenuation curves are more positive (amplified) in the basin (average of 5.3 cm/ sec2 compared to - 24.2 cm/sec2 for those stations outside the basin and between 75 and 110 km from the surface projection of the faulted area, a 40% increase in peak ground acceleration). Residuals for peak velocity are also significantly more positive at stations in the basin (31.8 cm/sec compared to 20.0 cm/sec out). The correlation of peak motion with depth to basement, while minor in peak acceleration, is stronger in the peak velocities. Record sections of ground motion from stations in and around the Taipei basin show that the largest long-period arrival, which is coherent across the region, is strongest on the vertical component and has a period of about 10-12 sec. This phase appears to be a Rayleigh wave, probably associated with rupture at the north end of the Chelungpu fault. Records of strong motion from stations in and near the basin have an additional, higher frequency signal: nearest the deepest point in the basin, the signal is characterized by frequencies of about 0.3 - 0.4 Hz. These frequencies are close to simple predictions using horizontal layers and the velocity structure of the basin. Polarizations of the S wave are mostly coherent across the array, although there are significant differences along the northwest edge that may indicate large strains across that edge of the basin. The length of each record after the main S wave are all longer at basin stations compared to those outside. This increase in duration of ground shaking is probably caused by amplification of ground motion at basin stations, although coda Q (0.67 - 1.30 Hz) is slightly larger inside the basin compared to those at local stations outside the basin. Durations correlate with depth to basement. These motions are in the range that can induce damage in buildings and may have contributed to the structural collapse of multistory buildings in the Taipei basin.
Additional publication details
Strong ground motion in the Taipei basin from the 1999 Chi-Chi, Taiwan, earthquake