Characterizing long period (1-10 sec) ground motions for base isolated structures located in sedimentary basins

Robert W. Graves*, Paul G. Somerville

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many urban regions, including Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle in the United States and Tokyo in Japan, are located above deep sedimentary basins. The conventional approach of estimating ground motions in these environments is to assume that the geology can be characterized by a horizontally stratified medium, and that only the shallowest few tens of meters influence the ground motion characteristics. However, the trapping and amplification of long period (1-10 sec) waves by sedimentary basins can generate amplitudes that are significantly larger than those calculated from simple 1D models of site resonance. This may be of particular concern for base isolated structures which are most sensitive to ground motions in this period range. The recent development of efficient computational methods for modeling seismic wave propagation in laterally varying geological structure enable us to model the effects of sedimentary basins on earthquake generated ground motions. We are now applying this calculation procedure to characterize the ground motions that may be generated in the Puget Trough and the Portland Basin due to large earthquakes on the Cascadia subduction zone, and in the Los Angeles region due to large earthquakes on blind thrust faults beneath the Los Angeles basin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-65
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers, Pressure Vessels and Piping Division (Publication) PVP
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


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