Abstract

To assess the level and nature of ground shaking in Hawaii for the purposes of earthquake hazard mitigation and seismic design, empirical ground-motion prediction models are desired. To develop such empirical relationships, knowledge of the subsurface site conditions beneath strong-motion stations is critical. Thus, as a first step to develop ground-motion prediction models for Hawaii, spectral-analysis-of-surface-waves (SASW) profiling was performed at the 22 free-field U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) strong-motion sites on the Big Island to obtain shear-wave velocity (VS) data. Nineteen of these stations recorded the 2006 Kiholo Bay moment magnitude (M) 6.7 earthquake, and 17 stations recorded the triggered M 6.0 Mahukona earthquake. VS profiling was performed to reach depths of more than 100 ft. Most of the USGS stations are situated on sites underlain by basalt, based on surficial geologic maps. However, the sites have varying degrees of weathering and soil development. The remaining strong-motion stations are located on alluvium or volcanic ash. VS30 (average VS in the top 30 m) values for the stations on basalt ranged from 906 to 1908 ft/s [National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) site classes C and D], because most sites were covered with soil of variable thickness. Based on these data, an NEHRP site-class map was developed for the Big Island. These new VS data will be a significant input into an update of the USGS statewide hazard maps and to the operation of ShakeMap on the island of Hawaii.

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