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Spatial variability and non-linearity of strong ground motion near a fault

Abstract : We present observations of ground accelerations recorded at a small array close to the fault during the Düzce earthquake and its early aftershocks. The records show the strong spatial variability of ground acceleration over distances of only a few hundred metres. During the main shock, the peak horizontal acceleration values ranged from 0.3 to about 1.0 g at stations distant of 1.5 km only. We attribute this spatial variability to a fault zone site effect as peak ground acceleration steadily increases as the distance to the fault trace decreases. The spectral ratio between the ground motion recorded near the fault and the one outside the fault zone shows a shift of the spectral peak to lower frequencies with increasing peak accelerations. Such an observation suggests a non-linear behaviour of the fault zone due to the strong ground shaking. As much as a 45 per cent reduction in the shear wave velocity is necessary for the observed shifts. The opening of pre-existing cracks throughout the fault zone is the proposed mechanism to account for the observed shear wave reductions. The observation that elastic fault zone properties are soon recovered following episodes of large strains shows that cracks and fissures close rapidly after the strong shaking is over.
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H. Karabulut, Michel Bouchon. Spatial variability and non-linearity of strong ground motion near a fault. Geophysical Journal International, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2007, 170 (1), pp.262 à 274. ⟨10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03406.x⟩. ⟨insu-00347186⟩



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