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Article
Amplification of Earthquake Ground Motions in Washington, DC, and Implications for Hazard Assessments in Central and Eastern North America
Geophysical Research Letters
  • Thomas L. Pratt
  • J. Wright Horton, Jr.
  • Jessica Munoz
  • Susan E. Hough
  • Martin C. Chapman
  • C. Guney Olgun, Missouri University of Science and Technology
Abstract

The extent of damage in Washington, DC, from the 2011 MW 5.8 Mineral, VA, earthquake was surprising for an epicenter 130 km away; U.S. Geological Survey “Did-You-Feel-It” reports suggest that Atlantic Coastal Plain and other unconsolidated sediments amplified ground motions in the city. We measure this amplification relative to bedrock sites using earthquake signals recorded on a temporary seismometer array. The spectral ratios show strong amplification in the 0.7 to 4 Hz frequency range for sites on sediments. This range overlaps with resonant frequencies of buildings in the city as inferred from their heights, suggesting amplification at frequencies to which many buildings are vulnerable to damage. Our results emphasize that local amplification can raise moderate ground motions to damaging levels in stable continental regions, where low attenuation extends shaking levels over wide areas and unconsolidated deposits on crystalline metamorphic or igneous bedrock can result in strong contrasts in near-surface material properties.

Department(s)
Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Comments
This work was supported by the USGS Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Internal Funds and External Grants Award G13AP00076.
Keywords and Phrases
  • Earthquake,
  • Ground Motions,
  • Mineral Earthquake,
  • Washington, DC
Document Type
Article - Journal
Document Version
Final Version
File Type
text
Language(s)
English
Rights
© 2017 American Geophysical Union (AGU), All rights reserved.
Publication Date
12-1-2017
Citation Information
Thomas L. Pratt, J. Wright Horton, Jessica Munoz, Susan E. Hough, et al.. "Amplification of Earthquake Ground Motions in Washington, DC, and Implications for Hazard Assessments in Central and Eastern North America" Geophysical Research Letters Vol. 44 Iss. 24 (2017) p. 12,150 - 12,160 ISSN: 0094-8276; 1944-8007
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/c-olgun/136/