Near-source strong ground motions observed in the 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake
This manuscript provides a critical examination of the ground motions recorded in the near-source region resulting from the 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Particular attention is given to reconciling the observed spatial distribution of ground motions in terms of physical phenomena related to source, path and site effects. The large number of near-source observed strong ground motions show clear evidence of: forward-directivity, basin generated surface waves, liquefaction and other significant nonlinear site response. The pseudo-acceleration response spectra (SA) amplitudes and significant duration of strong motions agree well with empirical prediction models, except at long vibration periods where the influence of basin-generated surface waves and nonlinear site response are significant and not adequately accounted for in empirical SA models. Pseudo-acceleration response spectra are also compared with those observed in the 4 September 2010 Darfield earthquake and routine design response spectra used in order to emphasise the amplitude of ground shaking and elucidate the importance of local geotechnical characteristics on surface ground motions. The characteristics of the observed vertical component accelerations are shown to be strongly dependent on source-to-site distance and are comparable with those from the 4 September 2010 Darfield earthquake, implying the large amplitudes observed are simply a result of many observations at close distances rather than a peculiar source effect.