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Investigation of Strong Earthquake Ground Motion


Trifunac, Mihailo Dimitrije (1969) Investigation of Strong Earthquake Ground Motion. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/FE4G-RF61.


The pattern of energy release during the Imperial Valley, California, earthquake of 1940 is studied by analysing the El Centro strong motion seismograph record and records from the Tinemaha seismograph station, 546 km from the epicenter. The earthquake was a multiple event sequence with at least 4 events recorded at El Centro in the first 25 seconds, followed by 9 events recorded in the next 5 minutes. Clear P, S and surface waves were observed on the strong motion record. Although the main part of the earthquake energy was released during the first 15 seconds, some of the later events were as large as M = 5.8 and thus are important for earthquake engineering studies. The moment calculated using Fourier analysis of surface waves agrees with the moment estimated from field measurements of fault offset after the earthquake. The earthquake engineering significance of the complex pattern of energy release is discussed. It is concluded that a cumulative increase in amplitudes of building vibration resulting from the present sequence of shocks would be significant only for structures with relatively long natural period of vibration. However, progressive weakening effects may also lead to greater damage for multiple event earthquakes.

The model with surface Love waves propagating through a single layer as a surface wave guide is studied. It is expected that the derived properties for this simple model illustrate well several phenomena associated with strong earthquake ground motion. First, it is shown that a surface layer, or several layers, will cause the main part of the high frequency energy, radiated from the nearby earthquake, to be confined to the layer as a wave guide. The existence of the surface layer will thus increase the rate of the energy transfer into the man-made structures on or near the surface of the layer. Secondly, the surface amplitude of the guided SH waves will decrease if the energy of the wave is essentially confined to the layer and if the wave propagates towards an increasing layer thickness. It is also shown that the constructive interference of SH waves will cause the zeroes and the peaks in the Fourier amplitude spectrum of the surface ground motion to be continuously displaced towards the longer periods as the distance from the source of the energy release increases.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Civil Engineering and Geophysics)
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Civil Engineering
Minor Option:Geophysics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Hudson, Donald E.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:20 May 1969
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:02192016-120838514
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9565
Deposited On:22 Feb 2016 21:22
Last Modified:06 May 2024 22:24

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