Abstract

Following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, a dense array of seven digitally recorded, three-component seismograph stations was deployed on Robinwood Ridge 7.3 km northwest of the epicenter. The purpose of this array was to investigate the cause of high levels of structural damage and ground cracking observed on the ridge crest. Aftershocks recorded by the array allow a comparison of ground motion up the slope of the ridge from the base to the crest. The data present an extremely complicated pattern of ground motion that demonstrates the importance of the three-dimensionality of the problem. Slowness analysis of P wave trains show initial arrivals propagating away from the source with small angles of incidence and large apparent velocities, consistent with direct arrivals. After 0.5 sec, propagation azimuths become more random and apparent velocities drop, indicating nearly horizontal wave propagation and multiply reflected and diffracted phases within the ridge. Slowness analysis and particle motion diagrams of horizontal components of motion show dramatic variations in ground motion with changes in azimuth of the source and a complicated interaction between body waves and Rayleigh and Love waves. Results suggest that the larger amplitude, more coherent arrivals at the array stations favor a propagation direction parallel to the ridge axis. An amplification factor of from 1.5 to 4.5 is seen for frequencies from 1.0 to 3.0 Hz with wavelengths comparable to the base of the ridge, part of which may be caused by local site effects and part by topographic amplification. In addition, amplifications of up to a factor of 5 are seen at higher frequencies and are attributed to local site effects. These effects are most notable from 4 to 8 Hz on the vertical components, and from 6 to 9 Hz on the horizontal components. The entire Robinwood Ridge area may also have been situated in a region of heightened mainshock ground motion due to source directivity and radiation pattern effects.

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