Sensitivity tests between Vs30 and detailed shear wave profiles using 1D and 3D site response analysis, Las Vegas Valley
AuthorWest, Loyd Travis
AdvisorLouie, John N.
Geological Sciences and Engineering
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Site characterization is an essential aspect of hazard analysis and the time-averaged shear-wave velocity to 30 m depth “Vs30” for site-class has become a critical parameter in site-specific and probabilistic hazard analysis. Yet, the general applicability of Vs30 can be ambiguous and much debate and research surround its application. In 2007, in part to mitigate the uncertainty associated with the use of Vs30 in Las Vegas Valley, the Clark County Building Department (CCBD) in collaboration with the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) embarked on an endeavor to map Vs30 using a geophysical methods approach for a site-class microzonation map of over 500 square miles (1500 km²) in southern Nevada. The resulting dataset, described by Pancha et al. (2017), contains over 10,700 1D shear-wave-velocity-depth profiles (SWVP) that constitute a rich database of 3D shear-wave velocity structure that is both laterally and vertical heterogenous. This study capitalizes on the uniquely detailed and spatially dense CCBD database to carry out sensitivity tests on the detailed shear-wave-velocity-profiles and the Vs30 utilizing 1D and 3D site-response approaches. Sensitivity tests are derived from the 1D oscillator response of a single-degree-of-freedom-oscillator and from 3D finite-difference deterministic simulations up to 15 Hz frequency using similar model parameters. Results demonstrate that the detailed SWVP are amplifying ground motions by roughly 50% over the simple Vs30 models, above 4.6 Hz frequency. Numerical simulations also depict significant lateral resonance, focusing, and scattering from seismic energy attributed to the 3D small-scale heterogeneities of the shear-wave-velocity profiles that result in a 70% increase in peak ground velocity. Additionally, PGV ratio maps clearly establish that the increased amplification from the detailed SWVPs is consistent throughout the model space. As a corollary, this study demonstrates the use of finite-differencing numerical based methods to simulate ground motions at high frequencies, up to 15 Hz.