Abstract

We calculate spectral ratios for S waves and codas to evaluate the amplification of 14 sites in the southern San Francisco Bay area relative to a nearby bedrock site in the Coyote Hills. Our data are seismograms written by Loma Prieta aftershocks: the epicentral distances and azimuths to the stations are effectively the same. All the sites in the study are amplified with respect to the reference site at frequencies from 0.5 to 7 Hz. The shapes of the S-wave and coda spectral ratios are similar, but the coda ratios are greater than the S-wave ratios by as much as a factor of 4. The difference is larger for sites on alluvial and bay mud deposits, particularly at frequencies around 1 Hz, suggesting the presence of waves trapped in the alluvial basin. In general, the length of the analysis window affects the S-wave spectral ratios for alluvial sites. Longer windows give ratios similar to coda ratios, apparently because these windows include more of the phases that contribute to the coda.

We classify the sites according to their geological characteristics and surficial shear-wave velocities. For the S-wave ratios, the differences between the classes showed no systematic trend; the softest and hardest soil classes we consider have practically identical S-wave amplifications. The average coda ratios for the site classes clearly increase as the soil classes include slower and “softer” materials. After correction for differences in reference sites, the coda amplifications are very similar to the relative amplifications for these site classes estimated by Borcherdt and Glassmoyer (1992) from the strong-motion recordings of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

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