A simple, yet effective, analytical model is proposed for the representation of near-field strong ground motions. The model adequately describes the impulsive character of near-fault ground motions both qualitatively and quantitatively. In addition, it can be used to analytically reproduce empirical observations that are based on available near-source records. The input parameters of the model have an unambiguous physical meaning. The proposed analytical model has been calibrated using a large number of actual near-field ground-motion records. It successfully simulates the entire set of available near-fault displacement, velocity, and (in many cases) acceleration time histories, as well as the corresponding deformation, velocity, and acceleration response spectra. Furthermore, a very simplified methodology for generating realistic synthetic ground motions that are adequate for engineering analysis and design is outlined and applied. Finally, it should be noted that the analytical model (along with the scaling laws of its parameters) proposed in the present work has the potential to facilitate the study of the elastic and inelastic response of conventional, nonconventional (e.g., base-isolated), and special structures (e.g., suspension bridges, fluid-storage tanks) subjected to near-source seismic excitations as a function of the model input parameters and thus, ultimately, as a function of earthquake size.

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