For proper understanding of soil behavior during earthquakes and assessment of a realistic surface motion, studies of the large-strain dynamic response of non-linear hysteretic soil systems are indispensable. Most of the presently available studies are based on the assumption that the response of a soil deposit is mainly due to the upward propagation of horizontally polarized shear waves from the underlying bedrock. Equivalent-linear procedures, currently in common use in non-linear soil response analysis, provide a simple approach and have been favorably compared with the actual recorded motions in some particular cases. Strain compatibility in these equivalent-linear approaches is maintained by selecting values of shear moduli and damping ratios in accordance with the average soil strains, in an iterative manner. Truly non-linear constitutive models with complete strain compatibility have also been employed. The equivalent-linear approaches often raise some doubt as to the reliability of their results concerning the system response in high frequency regions. In these frequency regions the equivalent-linear methods may underestimate the surface motion by as much as a factor of two or more. Although studies are complete in their methods of analysis, they inevitably provide applications pertaining only to a few specific soil systems, and do not lead to general conclusions about soil behavior. This report attempts to provide a general picture of the soil response through the use of a single-degree-of-freedom non-linear-hysteretic model. Although the investigation is based on a specific type of nonlinearity and a set of dynamic soil properties, the method described does not limit itself to these assumptions and is equally applicable to other types of nonlinearity and soil parameters.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
A single-degree-of-freedom model for non-linear soil amplification
U.S. Geological Survey
Earthquake Science Center, Menlo Park Science Center