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Engineering Studies of the San Fernando Earthquake


Crouse, Charles Brian (1974) Engineering Studies of the San Fernando Earthquake. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/17yn-bc14.


A number of accelerograms obtained during the San Fernando earthquake were analyzed to investigate the nature of the strong motion. The particular features studied were soil-structure interaction and the relative influence of local site conditions versus the source mechanism and travel paths of earthquake waves.

Evidence of soil-structure interaction in the EW fundamental mode of the Hollywood Storage building is seen in the earthquake data. General agreement exists up to ~ 5 c.p.s. in both lateral directions between theoretical, base to free field transfer functions and transfer functions derived from accelerograms obtained in the basement and adjacent parking lot. There was no evidence of soil-structure interaction in the Millikan Library and Athenaeum buildings on the Caltech campus, and this effect could not account for the major differences in their accelerograms.

Accelerogram, Fourier Amplitude Spectra, and Response Spectra data were compared from a group of six tall buildings close together near Wilshire Blvd. and Normandie Ave. in Los Angeles and from seven surrounding buildings, two to three miles away. The data indicated that local site conditions and soil-structure interaction were not major contributors to the observed differences in the response at these sites. There was correlation between the degree of similarity in the response at two sites and their distance apart. A simple wave superposition model with numerical examples confirms this correlation.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Civil Engineering) ; San Fernando Earthquake ; Accelerograms
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Civil Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Jennings, Paul C.
Group:Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:25 July 1973
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Record Number:CaltechThesis:08112021-192505383
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemTechnical Report EERL 73-04 in CaltechAUTHORS
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:14321
Deposited By: Kathy Johnson
Deposited On:11 Aug 2021 19:39
Last Modified:13 Aug 2021 22:26

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