Relative seismic ground-response characteristics in the cities of Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater, Washington, were determined from analysis of instrumentally recorded ground motion induced by blasts at an open-pit coal mine near Centralia, Washington. A ground-response function (GRF), defined as the ratio of Fourier spectral amplitudes at an alluvium site to spectral amplitudes on hard rock, is a measure of amplification of seismic waves by localized site conditions. GRF values in three frequency bands (0.5 to 1.0 Hz, 1.0 to 2.0 Hz, and 2.0 to 4.0 Hz) were compared with observed Modified Mercalli (MM) intensities from the 29 April 1965, Puget Sound earthquake and with mapped surficial geologic units. Typically, the GRF values relate well with the surficial geological units.
In addition, MM intensities within the V to VII range appear to be directly related to the frequencies within the 0.5 to 4.0 Hz bandwidth such that MM V intensity sites had a lower GRF value in the 2.0 to 4.0 Hz bandwidth as compared to the 0.5 to 2.0 Hz bandwidth, and the MM VII intensity sites had higher GRF values in the 2.0 to 4.0 Hz bandwidth as compared to the 0.5 to 2.0 Hz bandwidth. The set of GRF values determined for the city of Olympia and its vicinity should be useful in formulating a theoretical relative ground-response model for the southern Puget Sound area.