Shear-wave velocity based seismic microzonation of Lorca city (SE Spain) from MASW analysis
P. Martínez-Pagán, M. Navarro, J. Pérez-Cuevas, F.J. Alcalá, A. García-Jerez and S. Sandoval-Castaño
Journal name: Near Surface Geophysics
Issue: Vol 12, No 6, December 2014 pp. 739 - 749
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Many populated areas located in moderate seismic risk regions have been hit by earthquakes of moderate magnitude which, surprisingly, have caused very serious damage to buildings and led to the loss of human life. The city of Lorca (SE Spain) is a clear example. On 11 May 2011, two main shocks occurred in the vicinity of Lorca city with a maximum magnitude of 5.1 Mw causing some casualties and serious widespread damage in the city and its surroundings. Most of the damage was concentrated in certain districts in the city, while other parts remained intact. Actually, in Lorca, investigators detected both a clear example of seismic site effect and a seismic wave amplification occurrence due to the type of geological materials on which the city is located. For this reason, several studies are being carried out in Lorca city to assess the actual contribution of the soil conditions to the seismic amplification phenomena. In these studies, the shear wave velocity plays a key role as a parameter for evaluating the dynamic behaviour of the shallowest geological materials. Consequently, site characterization applied to calculating seismic hazard is usually based on the near surface shear-wave velocity distribution. This study looked at the average shear-wave velocity for the uppermost 30 m of ground, which is referred to as Vs30. The Vs30 values obtained from multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW) were used to create a new soil classification map of Lorca city. Thus, the derived Vs30 map was transformed into the NEHRP and Eurocode 8 (EC8) standards. In Lorca city, the softness and the thickness of shallow geological formations have been observed as two important factors that affected the level of ground shaking and the degree of damage. The results show that there is a significant correlation between the Vs30 values and the damage distribution within the city.