A case study of alternative site response explanatory variables in Parkfield, California

E. M. Thompson, L. G. Baise, Robert E. Kayen, Eugene C. Morgan, James Kaklamanos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The combination of densely-spaced strong-motion stations in Parkfield, California, and spectral analysis of surface waves (SASW) profiles provides an ideal dataset for assessing the accuracy of different site response explanatory variables. We judge accuracy in terms of spatial coverage and correlation with observations. The performance of the alternative models is period-dependent, but generally we observe that: (1) where a profile is available, the square-root-of-impedance method outperforms VS30 (average S-wave velocity to 30 m depth), and (2) where a profile is unavailable, the topographic-slope method outperforms surficial geology. The fundamental site frequency is a valuable site response explanatory variable, though less valuable than VS30. However, given the expense and difficulty of obtaining reliable estimates of VS30 and the relative ease with which the fundamental site frequency can be computed, the fundamental site frequency may prove to be a valuable site response explanatory variable for many applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeoRisk 2011
Subtitle of host publicationGeotechnical Risk Assessment and Management - Proceedings of the GeoRisk 2011 Conference
Number of pages8
Edition224 GSP
StatePublished - 2011
EventGeoRisk 2011: Geotechnical Risk Assessment and Management - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2011Jun 28 2011

Publication series

NameGeotechnical Special Publication
Number224 GSP
ISSN (Print)0895-0563


OtherGeoRisk 2011: Geotechnical Risk Assessment and Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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