Simulataneous recordings of Nevada Test Site nuclear events were made at sites underlain by alluvium in the Long Beach, California, area and at sites underlain by rock in the Palos Verdes and Pasadena areas. These data show peak-ground-velocity alluvium-to-rock ratios as large as 7 and spectral ratios as high as 11 in the period band from 0.2 to 6 sec. Comparison of the low-strain nuclear-explosion data and the San Fernando earthquake strong-motion data at three sites indicates that the alluvium-to-rock spectral ratios derived from the nuclear explosions are similar to those derived from the earthquake.
Significant trends exist in the short-period data, indicating higher ground response at sites underlain at the near-surface by materials that have high void ratios and lower ground response with increasing thickness of Quaternary deposits. These results suggest that the short-period response is primarily controlled both by near-surface low-velocity layers and by attenuation in the Quaternary sediments. Comparison of the data of this study with data collected in other areas indicates that the long-period response increase with either increasing depth to basement or with alluvium thickness, when this thickness is greater than 400 m. From previous theoretical studies and these results, ground response in the long-period band is related to those underlying geological structures and major velocity contrasts that control the development of surface waves.