Characterizing GeoNet strong motion sites: Site metadata update for the 2015 Strong Motion Database
The 2015 New Zealand strong-motion database provides a wealth of new strong motion data for engineering applications. An important component of this database is the compilation of new site metadata, describing the soil conditions and site response at GeoNet strong motion stations. We have assessed and compiled four key site parameters for the ~460 GeoNet stations that recorded significant historical ground motions. Parameters include: site classification (NZS1170.5), Vs30, fundamental site period (Tsite) and depth to bedrock (Z1.0, i.e. depth to material with Vs > 1000 m/s). In addition, we have assigned a quality estimate (Quality 1 – 3) to these parameters to provide a qualitative estimate of the uncertainty. New highquality Tsite estimates have largely been obtained from newly available HVSR amplification curves and spectral ratios from inversion of regional strong motion data that has been reconciled with available geological information. Good quality Vs30 estimates, typically in urban centres, have also been incorporated following recent studies. Where site-specific measurements of Vs30 are not available, Vs30 is estimated based on surface geology following national Vs30 maps. New Z1.0 values have been provided from 3D subsurface models for Canterbury and Wellington. This database will be used in efforts to guide development and testing of new and existing ground motion prediction models in New Zealand. In particular, it will allow reexamination of the most important site parameters that control and predict site response in a New Zealand setting. Furthermore, it can be used to provide information about suitable rock reference sites for seismological research, and as a guide to site-specific references in the literature. We discuss compilation of the database, preliminary insights so far, and future directions.