Development of a 3D Canterbury seismic velocity model and investigation of systematic effects through hybrid broadband ground motion simulation
Thesis DisciplineCivil Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This dissertation addresses a diverse range of topics in the area of physics-based ground motion simulation with particular focus on the Canterbury, New Zealand region. The objectives achieved provide the means to perform hybrid broadband ground motion simulation and subsequently validates the simulation methodology employed. In particu- lar, the following topics are addressed: the development of a 3D seismic velocity model of the Canterbury region for broadband ground motion simulation; the development of a 3D geologic model of the interbedded Quaternary formations to provide insight on observed ground motions; and the investigation of systematic effects through ground motion sim- ulation of small-to-moderate magnitude earthquakes. The paragraphs below outline each contribution in more detail.
As a means to perform hybrid broadband ground motion simulation, a 3D model of the geologic structure and associated seismic velocities in the Canterbury region is devel- oped utilising data from depth-converted seismic reflection lines, petroleum and water well logs, cone penetration tests, and implicitly guided by existing contour maps and geologic cross sections in data sparse subregions. The model explicitly characterises five significant and regionally recognisable geologic surfaces that mark the boundaries between geologic units with distinct lithology and age, including the Banks Peninsula volcanics, which are noted to strongly influence seismic wave propagation. The Basement surface represents the base of the Canterbury sedimentary basin, where a large impedance contrast exists re- sulting in basin-generated waves. Seismic velocities for the lithological units between the geologic surfaces are derived from well logs, seismic reflection surveys, root mean square stacking velocities, empirical correlations, and benchmarked against a regional crustal model, thus providing the necessary information for a Canterbury velocity model for use in broadband seismic wave propagation.
A 3D high-resolution model of the Quaternary geologic stratigraphic sequence in the Canterbury region is also developed utilising datasets of 527 high-quality water well logs, and 377 near-surface cone penetration test records. The model, developed using geostatistical Kriging, represents the complex interbedded regional Quaternary geology by characterising the boundaries between significant interbedded geologic formations as 3D surfaces including explicit modelling of the formation unconformities resulting from the Banks Peninsula volcanics. The stratigraphic layering present can result in complex wave propagation. The most prevalent trend observed in the surfaces was the downward dip from inland to the eastern coastline as a result of the dominant fluvial depositional environment of the terrestrial gravel formations. The developed model provides a benefi- cial contribution towards developing a comprehensive understanding of recorded ground motions in the region and also providing the necessary information for future site char- acterisation and site response analyses. To highlight the practicality of the model, an example illustrating the role of the model in constraining surface wave analysis-based shear wave velocity profiling is illustrated along with the calculation of transfer functions to quantify the effect of the interbedded geology on wave propagation.
Lastly, an investigation of systematic biases in the (Graves and Pitarka, 2010, 2015) ground motion simulation methodology and the specific inputs used for the Canterbury region is presented considering 144 small-to-moderate magnitude earthquakes. In the simulation of these earthquakes, the 3D Canterbury Velocity Model, developed as a part of this dissertation, is used for the low-frequency simulation, and a regional 1D velocity model for the high-frequency simulation. Representative results for individual earthquake sources are first presented to highlight the characteristics of the small-to-moderate mag- nitude earthquake simulations through waveforms, intensity measure scaling with source- to-site distance, and spectral bias of the individual events. Subsequently, a residual de- composition is performed to examine the between- and within-event residuals between observed data, and simulated and empirical predictions. By decomposing the residuals into between- and within-event residuals, the biases in source, path and site effects, and their causes, can be inferred. The residuals are comprehensively examined considering their aggregated characteristics, dependence on predictor variables, spatial distribution, and site-specific effects. The results of the simulation are also benchmarked against empir- ical ground motion models, where their similarities manifest from common components in their prediction. Ultimately, suggestions to improve the predictive capability of the simulations are presented as a result of the analysis.