Taking advantage of a large displacement-release experiment on a two- story reinforced concrete building located in Bagnoli (Naples, Italy), we performed free-field measurements using 3D seismometers, accelerometers, and a 100-m-long vertical array. The ground motion was noticeable: near the building, the acceleration exceeded 5% g. At each measurement point, it was possible to recognize two source terms, due to the tested building and to the reaction structure. The two sources generated different wave trains. High-frequency accelerations propagated as Rayleigh waves, whereas 1–2 Hz waves carrying most of the displacement propagated only as body waves. The experiment lends further support to the hypothesis that buildings are able to modify substantially the free-field ground motion in their proximity: the peak ground acceleration we observed is the 20% of the ground acceleration required to produce a displacement on the building equal to the one imposed during the release test. We recognize, however, the difficulty of a realistic modeling of wave propagation in the topmost layer of a densely urbanized area.

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