Simulation of site amplification effects at Heathcote Valley during the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes
Heathcote Valley school strong motion station (HVSC) consistently recorded ground motions with higher intensities than nearby stations during the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes. For example, as shown in Figure 1, for the 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, peak ground acceleration at HVSC reached 1.4 g (horizontal) and 2 g (vertical), the largest ever recorded in New Zealand. Strong amplification of ground motions is expected at Heathcote Valley due to: 1) the high impedance contrast at the soil-rock interface, and 2) the interference of incident and surface waves within the valley. However, both conventional empirical ground motion prediction equations (GMPE) and the physics-based large scale ground motions simulations (with empirical site response) are ineffective in predicting such amplification due to their respective inherent limitations.