In the absence of near-field records of differential ground motion induced by earthquakes, we simulate the time histories of strain, tilt, and rotation in the vicinity of earthquake faults embedded in layered media. We consider the case of both strike-slip and dip-slip fault models and study the effect of different crustal structures. The maximum rotational motion produced by a buried 30-km-long strike-slip fault with slip of 1 m is of the order of 3 × 10−4 rad while the corresponding rotational velocity is about 1.5 × 10−3 rad/sec. A simulation of the San Fernando earthquake yields maximum longitudinal strain and tilt a few kilometers from the fault of the order of 8 × 10−4 and 7 × 10−4 rad. These values being small compared to the amplitude of ground displacement, the results suggest that most of the damage occurring in earthquakes is caused by translation motions. We also show that strain and tilt are closely related to ground velocity and that the phase velocities associated with strong ground motions are controlled by the rupture velocity and the basement rock shearwave velocity.

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