Abstract

Site-specific amplification factors, Fa and Fv, used in current U.S. building codes decrease with increasing base acceleration level as implied by the Loma Prieta earthquake at 0.1g and extrapolated using numerical models and laboratory results. The Northridge earthquake recordings of 17 January 1994 and subsequent geotechnical data permit empirical estimates of amplification at base acceleration levels up to 0.5g. Distance measures and normalization procedures used to infer amplification ratios from soil-rock pairs in predetermined azimuth-distance bins significantly influence the dependence of amplification estimates on base acceleration. Factors inferred using a hypocentral distance norm do not show a statistically significant dependence on base acceleration. Factors inferred using norms implied by the attenuation functions of Abrahamson and Silva show a statistically significant decrease with increasing base acceleration. The decrease is statistically more significant for stiff clay and sandy soil (site class D) sites than for stiffer sites underlain by gravely soils and soft rock (site class C). The decrease in amplification with increasing base acceleration is more pronounced for the short-period amplification factor, Fa, than for the midperiod factor, Fv.

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