A comparative ground response study at sites in the Los Angeles region is based on the extensive strong-motion data set recorded in the 1971 San Fernando earthquake and 159 three-component recordings of distant nuclear tests in Nevada. Amplitude spectral ratios computed for the nuclear test data over those frequency bands for which there is an adequate signal-to-noise ratio provide statistically stable estimates of the local ground response related to the type of local geologic conditions. Comparison of the strong-motion data recorded from the 1971 San Fernando earthquake with that recorded at 28 of the same sites for the nuclear tests show that the corresponding amplitude spectral ratios are statistically equivalent for most sites, provided reference stations are chosen to minimize effects on the earthquake data of azimuthal source variations and crustal propagation path. Statistical equivalence of the spectral ratios for the two types of data sources suggests that amplitude spectral ratios computed with respect to the appropriate reference station provide a first-order estimate of local ground response.

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