Geotechnical characterization of Christchurch strong motion stations
This report presents an overview of the soil profile characteristics at a number of strong motion station (SMS) sites in Christchurch and its surrounds. An extensive database of ground motion records has been captured by the SMS network in the Canterbury region during the Canterbury earthquake sequence. However in order to comprehensively understand the ground motions recorded at these sites and to be able to relate these motions to other locations, a detailed understanding of the shallow geotechnical profile at each SMS is required. The original NZS1170.5 (SNZ 2004) site subsoil classifications for each SMS site is based on regional geological information and well logs located at varying distances from the site. Given the variability of Christchurch soils, more detailed investigations are required in close vicinity to each SMS to better understand stratigraphy and soil properties, which are important in seismic site response. In this regard, CPT, SPT and borehole data, shear wave velocity (Vs) profiles, and horizontal to vertical spectral ratio measurements (H/V) in close vicinity to the SMS were used to develop representative soil profiles at each site. NZS1170.5 (SNZ 2004) site subsoil classifications were updated using Vs and SPT N60 criteria. Site class E boundaries were treated as a sliding scale rather than as a discrete boundary to account for locations with similar site effects potential, an approach which was shown to result in a better delineation between the site classes. SPT N60 values often indicate a stiffer site class than the Vs data for softer soil sites, highlighting the disparity between the two site investigation techniques. Both SPT N60 and Vs based site classes did not always agree with the original site classifications. This emphasises the importance of having detailed site‐specific information at SMS locations in order to properly classify them. Furthermore, additional studies are required to harmonize site classification based on SPT N60 and Vs. Liquefaction triggering assessments were carried out for the Darfield and Christchurch earthquakes, and compared against observed liquefaction surface manifestations and ground motions characteristics at each SMS. In general, the characteristics of the recorded ground motions at each site correlate well with the triggering analyses. However, at sites that likely liquefied at depth (as indicated by triggering analyses and/or inferred from the characteristics of the recorded surface acceleration time series), the presence of a non‐liquefiable crust layer at many of the SMS locations prevented the manifestation of any surface effects.
SubjectsField of Research::09 - Engineering::0905 - Civil Engineering::090504 - Earthquake Engineering
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