Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract During the ML = 5.6 and 5.8 earthquakes occurredin central Italy on 26 September 1997 the historiccentre of Nocera Umbra, lying on top of a 120 m highhill, was diffusely damaged (VII-VIII degrees of MCSintensity). Some recently built houses in the modernpart of the town suffered an even higher level ofdamage. A temporary seismic array was deployed toinvestigate a possible correlation between localamplifications of ground motion in this area and theobserved pattern of damage. After a geologic andmacroseismic survey, eight sites were selected asrepresentative of different local conditions, such astopographic irregularities, sharp hard-to-softlithology transitions, alluvium-filled valleys, andboth undisturbed and deformed rocks.Horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratios for bothmicrotremor and earthquake recordings, as well asspectral ratios referred to undisturbed rock sites,were used to quantify local variations of groundmotion. In spite of the diffuse damage in the historiccentre of Nocera Umbra, a small amplification isobserved at the stations on the hill's top. Thissuggests that the higher vulnerability of the ancientbuildings mainly accounts for the diffuse damage inthat part of the town. In the frequency band ofengineering interest (1 to 10 Hz) the largestamplifications of ground motion are found at softsites: in the Topino river valley, where many episodesof severe structural damage occurred, spectralamplification is significant over a broad frequencyband ranging from 2 Hz to more than 20 Hz. Inparticular, in the central part of the valley highamplification (〉 4) is found from 3 to 10 Hz,reaching a maximum of 20 around 4 Hz. At the edge ofthe valley, close to the soil-to-rock transition,amplification is as large as 10 in a frequency bandranging from 4 to more than 20 Hz. A significantamplification (by a factor of 10 around 10 Hz) isobserved also at one of the rock sites, possibly dueto the presence of a cataclastic zone related to theactivity of a regional fault that altered themechanical properties of the rock.
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