Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey deployed a digital seismic station in Oceano, California, in February 2004, to investigate the cause of damage and liquefaction from the 22 December 2003 M 6.5 San Simeon earthquake. This station recorded 11 M > 2.8 aftershocks in almost 8 weeks. We analyze these recordings, together with recordings of the mainshock and the same aftershocks obtained from nearby stations in Park Hill and San Luis Obispo, to estimate the mainshock ground motion in Oceano. We estimate the Fourier amplitude spectrum using generalized spectral ratio analysis. We test a set of aftershocks as Green’s functions by comparing simulated and recorded acceleration amplitude spectra for the mainshock at San Luis Obispo and Park Hill. We convolve the aftershock accelerograms with a stochastic operator to simulate the duration and phase of the mainshock accelerograms. This approximation allows us to extend the range of aftershocks that can be used as Green’s functions to events nearly three magnitude units smaller than the mainshock. Our realizations for the mainshock accelerogram at Oceano yield peak ground accelerations distributed as 28% ± 4%g. We interpret these realizations as upper bounds for the actual ground motion, because our analysis assumes a linear response, whereas the presence of liquefaction indicates that the ground behaved nonlinearly in Oceano.

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