3D Ground Motion Simulations for the Christchurch Area Including the Surface Topography Effects
We present initial results from a set of three-dimensional (3D) deterministic earthquake ground motion simulations for the northern Canterbury plains, Christchurch and the Banks Peninsula region, which explicitly incorporate the effects of the surface topography. The simu-lations are done using Hercules, an octree-based finite-element parallel software for solving 3D seismic wave propagation problems in heterogeneous media under kinematic faulting. We describe the efforts undertaken to couple Hercules with the South Island Velocity Model (SIVM), which included changes to the SIVM code in order to allow for single repetitive que-ries and thus achieve a seamless finite-element meshing process within the end-to-end ap-proach adopted in Hercules. We present our selection of the region of interest, which corre-sponds to an area of about 120 km × 120 km, with the 3D model reaching a depth of 60 km. Initial simulation parameters are set for relatively high minimum shear wave velocity and a low maximum frequency, which we are progressively scaling up as computing resources permit. While the effects of topography are typically more important at higher frequencies and low seismic velocities, even at this initial stage of our efforts (with a maximum of 2 Hz and a mini-mum of 500 m/s), it is possible to observe the importance of the topography in the response of some key locations within our model. To highlight these effects we compare the results of the 3D topographic model with respect to those of a flat (squashed) 3D model. We draw rele-vant conclusions from the study of topographic effects during earthquakes for this region and describe our plans for future work.
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