Site-response experiments were performed 5 months after the MS = 7.8 central Chile earthquake of 3 March 1985 to identify amplification due to topography and geology.

Topographical amplification at Canal Beagle, a subdivision of Viña del Mar, was hypothesized immediately after the main event, when extensive damage was observed on the ridges of Canal Beagle. Using frequency-dependent spectral ratios of aftershock data obtained from a temporarily established dense array, it is shown that there is substantial amplification of motions at the ridges of Canal Beagle. The data set constitutes the first such set depicting topographical amplification at a heavily populated region and correlates well with the damage distribution observed during the main event.

Dense arrays established in Viña del Mar also yielded extensive data which are quantified to show that, in the range of frequencies of engineering interest, there was substantial amplification at different sites of different geological formations. To substantiate this, spectral ratios developed from the strong-motion records of the main event are used to show the extensive degree of amplification at an alluvial site as compared to a rock site. Similarly, spectral ratios developed from aftershocks recorded at comparable stations qualitatively confirm that the frequency ranges for which the amplification of motions occur are quite similar to those from strong-motion records. In case of weak motions, the denser arrays established temporarily as described herein can be used to identify the frequency ranges for which amplification occurs, to quantify the degree of frequency-dependent amplification and used in microzonation of closely spaced localities.

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