ABSTRACT

Spectral decay of ground‐motion amplitudes at high frequencies is primarily influenced by two parameters: site‐related kappa (κ0) and regional Q (quality factor, inversely proportional to anelastic attenuation). We examine kappa and apparent Q‐values (Qa) for M3.5 earthquakes recorded at seismograph stations on rock sites in eastern and western Canada. Our database contains 20 earthquakes recorded on nine stations in eastern Canada and 404 earthquakes recorded on eight stations in western Canada, resulting in 105 and 865 Fourier amplitude spectra, respectively. We apply two different methods: (1) a modified version of the classical S‐wave acceleration method; and (2) a new stacking method that is consistent with the use of kappa in ground‐motion modeling. The results are robust with respect to the method used and also with respect to the frequency band selected, which ranges from 9 to 38 Hz depending on the region, event, and method. Kappa values obtained from the classical method are consistent with those of the stacked method, but the stacked method provides a lower uncertainty. A general observation is that kappa is usually larger, and apparent Q is smaller, for the horizontal component in comparison to the vertical component. We determine an average regional κ0=7  ms (horizontal) and 0 ms (vertical) for rock sites in eastern Canada; we obtain κ0=19  ms (horizontal) and 14 ms (vertical) for rock sites in western Canada. We note that kappa measurements are quite sensitive to details of data selection criteria and methodology, and may be significantly influenced by site effects, resulting in large site‐to‐site variability.

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