Near-Fault Forward-Directivity Aspects of Strong Ground Motions in the 2010-11 Canterbury Earthquakes
Thesis DisciplineCivil Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Engineering
The purpose of this thesis is to conduct a detailed examination of the forward-directivity characteristics of near-fault ground motions produced in the 2010-11 Canterbury earthquakes, including evaluating the efficacy of several existing empirical models which form the basis of frameworks for considering directivity in seismic hazard assessment.
A wavelet-based pulse classification algorithm developed by Baker (2007) is firstly used to identify and characterise ground motions which demonstrate evidence of forward-directivity effects from significant events in the Canterbury earthquake sequence. The algorithm fails to classify a large number of ground motions which clearly exhibit an early-arriving directivity pulse due to: (i) incorrect pulse extraction resulting from the presence of pulse-like features caused by other physical phenomena; and (ii) inadequacy of the pulse indicator score used to carry out binary pulse-like/non-pulse-like classification. An alternative ‘manual’ approach is proposed to ensure 'correct' pulse extraction and the classification process is also guided by examination of the horizontal velocity trajectory plots and source-to-site geometry. Based on the above analysis, 59 pulse-like ground motions are identified from the Canterbury earthquakes , which in the author's opinion, are caused by forward-directivity effects. The pulses are also characterised in terms of their period and amplitude. A revised version of the B07 algorithm developed by Shahi (2013) is also subsequently utilised but without observing any notable improvement in the pulse classification results.
A series of three chapters are dedicated to assess the predictive capabilities of empirical models to predict the: (i) probability of pulse occurrence; (ii) response spectrum amplification caused by the directivity pulse; (iii) period and amplitude (peak ground velocity, PGV) of the directivity pulse using observations from four significant events in the Canterbury earthquakes. Based on the results of logistic regression analysis, it is found that the pulse probability model of Shahi (2013) provides the most improved predictions in comparison to its predecessors. Pulse probability contour maps are developed to scrutinise observations of pulses/non-pulses with predicted probabilities.
A direct comparison of the observed and predicted directivity amplification of acceleration response spectra reveals the inadequacy of broadband directivity models, which form the basis of the near-fault factor in the New Zealand loadings standard, NZS1170.5:2004. In contrast, a recently developed narrowband model by Shahi & Baker (2011) provides significantly improved predictions by amplifying the response spectra within a small range of periods. The significant positive bias demonstrated by the residuals associated with all models at longer vibration periods (in the Mw7.1 Darfield and Mw6.2 Christchurch earthquakes) is likely due to the influence of basin-induced surface waves and non-linear soil response.
Empirical models for the pulse period notably under-predict observations from the Darfield and Christchurch earthquakes, inferred as being a result of both the effect of nonlinear site response and influence of the Canterbury basin. In contrast, observed pulse periods from the smaller magnitude June (Mw6.0) and December (Mw5.9) 2011 earthquakes are in good agreement with predictions. Models for the pulse amplitude generally provide accurate estimates of the observations at source-to-site distances between 1 km and 10 km. At longer distances, observed PGVs are significantly under-predicted due to their slower apparent attenuation. Mixed-effects regression is employed to develop revised models for both parameters using the latest NGA-West2 pulse-like ground motion database. A pulse period relationship which accounts for the effect of faulting mechanism using rake angle as a continuous predictor variable is developed. The use of a larger database in model development, however does not result in improved predictions of pulse period for the Darfield and Christchurch earthquakes. In contrast, the revised model for PGV provides a more appropriate attenuation of the pulse amplitude with distance, and does not exhibit the bias associated with previous models.
Finally, the effects of near-fault directivity are explicitly included in NZ-specific probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) using the narrowband directivity model of Shahi & Baker (2011). Seismic hazard analyses are conducted with and without considering directivity for typical sites in Christchurch and Otira. The inadequacy of the near-fault factor in the NZS1170.5: 2004 is apparent based on a comparison with the directivity amplification obtained from PSHA.