- Webb 1100
Title: In situ observations of site response during and after nonlinear soil behavior has occurred
Abstract: Instrumented geotechnical field sites are designed to capture the infrequent but critically important in situ case histories of ground response, deformation, and liquefaction during significant earthquakes that generate high intensity ground shaking and large strains. The University of California at Santa Barbara has been monitoring densely instrumented geotechnical array field sites for almost three decades, with continuous recording now for more than a decade. When seismic waves travel into soil with sufficiently large ground motions, the soil behaves nonlinearly meaning the shear modulus of the material decreases from the linear value observed during weak ground motions. The degraded shear modulus can continue to affect a site for a period of time by changing the soil response during smaller ground motions after the large event. Decreased shear modulus is inferred when a decrease of shear wave velocity between two sensors in a vertical downhole array is observed. This velocity is calculated by measuring the difference in shear wave arrival times between the sensors using normalized cross correlation. The trend of decreasing shear wave velocity with increasing peak ground acceleration is observed at multiple geotechnical array field sites. The length of time the decreased velocity remains following stronger shaking is analyzed using more than 450 events over more than a decade at the Wildlife Liquefaction Array (WLA). Using both monthly and yearly velocity averages between sensors, there is evidence that suggests the shear wave velocity remains low over a period of months following larger significant shaking events at the site. In addition, at WLA there is evidence that the decrease in shear wave velocity can be detected at ground motion levels as low as 20 cm/s2.