You are hereModeling of the Earthquake Ground Motion in the Frequency Domain

Modeling of the Earthquake Ground Motion in the Frequency Domain

Report No. : 
H. Thrainsson
A.S. Kiremidjian
S.R. Winterstein
May 2000
RMS40.pdf9.3 MB

In recent years, the utilization of time histories of earthquake ground motion has grown considerably in the design and analysis of civil structures. It is very unlikely, however, that recordings of earthquake ground motion will be available for all sites and conditions of interest. Hence, there is a need for efficient methods for the simulation and spatial interpolation of earthquake ground motion. In addition to providing estimates of the ground motion at a site using data from adjacent recording stations, spatially interpolated ground motions can also be used in design and analysis of long-span structures, such as bridges and pipelines, where differential movement is important.


The objective of this research is to develop a methodology for rapid generation of horizontal earthquake ground motion at any site for a given region, based on readily available source, path and site characteristics, or (sparse) recordings. The research includes two main topics: (i) the simulation of earthquake ground motion at a given site, and (ii) the spatial interpolation of earthquake ground motion.


In topic (i), models are developed to simulate acceleration time histories using the inverse discrete Fourier transform. The Fourier phase differences, defined as the difference in phase angle between adjacent frequency components, are simulated conditional on the Fourier amplitude. Uniformly processed recordings from recent California earthquakes are used to validate the simulation models, as well as to develop prediction formulas for the model parameters. The models developed in this research provide rapid simulation of earthquake ground motion over a wide range of magnitudes and distances, but they are not intended to replace more robust geophysical models.


In topic (ii), a model is developed in which Fourier amplitudes and Fourier phase angles are interpolated separately. A simple dispersion relationship is included in the phase angle interpolation. The accuracy of the interpolation model is assessed using data from the SMART-1 array in Taiwan. The interpolation model provides an effective method to estimate ground motion at a site using recordings from stations located up to several kilometers away. Reliable estimates of differential ground motion are restricted to relatively limited ranges of frequencies and inter-station spacings.