Abstract

During the months that followed the 17 January 1994 M 6.7 Northridge, California, earthquake, portable digital seismic stations were deployed in the San Fernando basin to record aftershock data and estimate site-amplification factors. This study analyzes data, recorded on 31 three-component stations, from 38 aftershocks ranging from M 3.0 to M 5.1, and depths from 0.2 to 19 km. Site responses from the 31 stations are estimated from coda waves, S waves, and ratios of horizontal to vertical (H/V) recordings. For the coda and the S waves, site response is estimated using both direct spectral ratios and a generalized inversion scheme. Results from the inversions indicate that the effect of Qs can be significant, especially at high frequencies. Site amplifications estimated from the coda of the vertical and horizontal components can be significantly different from each other, depending on the choice of the reference site. The difference is reduced when an average of six rock sites is used as a reference site. In addition, when using this multi-reference site, the coda amplification from rock sites is usually within a factor of 2 of the amplification determined from the direct spectral ratios and the inversion of the S waves. However, for nonrock sites, the coda amplification can be larger by a factor of 2 or more when compared with the amplification estimated from the direct spectral ratios and the inversion of the S waves. The H/V method for estimating site response is found to extract the same predominant peaks as the direct spectral ratio and the inversion methods. The amplifications determined from the H/V method are, however, different from the amplifications determined from the other methods. Finally, the stations were grouped into classes based on two different classifications, general geology and a more detailed classification using a quaternary geology map for the Los Angeles and San Fernando areas. Average site-response estimates using the site characterization based on the detailed geology show better correlation between amplification and surface geology than the general geology classification.

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