Investigation of Seismic Site Amplification for Non-NEHRP Site Conditions: Site Response Study of Columbia, SC


Current guidelines for simplified seismic design are mainly based on experience and observations from sites in the Western United States (WUS) and do not account for unique geological and geotechnical conditions prevalent in the Central and Eastern United States (CEUS). For instance, areas where abrupt velocity contrasts caused by very hard rock (shear wave velocity, Vs > 2600 m/s) close to the ground surface are prevalent in the CEUS, especially along the Fall Line. This geologic condition causes significant amplifications at short structural periods that can produce motions well above those typically predicted by current procedures based on the average shear wave velocity of the top 30 m (100 ft) of the profile. The Atlantic coastal plain, another common CEUS geological condition, which consists of a stack of unconsolidated sediments up to 1000 meters thick along the coast, amplifies ground motions at long periods (typically > 2 seconds) that greatly exceed the simplified spectra in the building codes. Current guidelines can be unconservative for both of these geologic settings. This paper presents a site response study of several sites in Columbia, South Carolina. Site amplification factors are computed and compared to those recommended in the building codes

Meeting Name

2014 Congress on Geo-Characterization and Modeling for Sustainability, Geo-Congress 2014 (2014: Feb. 23-26, Atlanta, GA)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Acoustic Wave Velocity; Seismic Design; Shear Waves; Structural Geology; Sustainable Development; Wave Propagation, Geologic Conditions; Geological Conditions; Geotechnical Conditions; Shear Wave Velocity; Site Amplification; Unconsolidated Sediment; Velocity Contrasts; Western United States, Building Codes

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Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

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© 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2014