Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 33–74 | Cite as

Evaluation of the influence of experimental conditions on H/V results from ambient noise recordings

  • Jean-Luc ChatelainEmail author
  • Bertrand Guillier
  • Fabrizio Cara
  • Anne-Marie Duval
  • Kuvvet Atakan
  • Pierre-Yves Bard
  • The WP02 SESAME team
Original Research Paper


The H/V-noise technique is now widely used to estimate site effect parameters (fundamental frequency and sometimes the associated soil amplification), and many surveys using this technique have provided convincing results. However, a general agreement on a methodology for data acquisition, data processing and result interpretation has yet to be found. H/V measurements from ambient noise recordings imply both reliability of the results and rapidity of data collection. It is therefore important to understand which experimental conditions (1) influence data quality and reliability, and (2) can help speeding up the recording process. Within the framework of the SESAME European project, a specific task was defined to investigate the reliability of the H/V spectral ratio technique in assessing the site effects. The aim of WP02, one specific Work Package of the SESAME project, is to study the effects of experimental conditions on both stability and reproducibility of H/V results. This study has been conducted in a purely experimental way, by testing the possible influence of various experimental conditions on H/V results both on the frequency peak value and on its amplitude. WP02 results help setting up the experimental conditions under which ambient noise recordings have to be performed in order to provide reproducible, reliable and meaningful H/V results. In this paper we present the results of the WP02 SESAME project concerning the evaluation of the influence of experimental conditions of ambient noise recording on H/V results.


Microtremor Site effects Field conditions Measurements 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bard P-Y (1999). Microtremor measurements: a tool for site effect estimation?. In: Irikurak, K, Kudok, K, Okadah, H and Sasatanit, T (eds) The effects of surface geology on seismic motion., pp 1251–1279. Balkema, Rotterdam Google Scholar
  2. Bard P-Y (2002) Extracting information from ambient seismic noise: the SESAME project (Site EffectS assessment using AMbient Excitations). European Project EVG1-CT-2000-00026 SESAME, Review meeting, Brussels, BelgiumGoogle Scholar
  3. Bard P-Y, the SESAME team (2003) The EU SESAME project: presentation, latest results and perspectives. Workshop on effects of surface geology on seismic motion, IUGG/IASPEI 2003, July 11 2003, Sapporo, JapanGoogle Scholar
  4. Bour M, Fouissac D, Dominique P and Martin C (1998). On the use of microtremor recordings in seismic microzonation. Soil Dyn Earth Eng 17(7–8): 465–474 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cara F, Di Gulio G and Rovelli A (2003). A study on seismic noise variations at Colfiorito, Central Italy: implications for the use of H/V spectral ratios. Geophys Res Lett 30(18): 1972 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chatelain J-L, Guéguen P, Guillier B, Fréchet J, Bondoux F, Sarrault J, Sulpice P and Neuville J-M (2000). Cityshark: a user-friendly instrument dedicaced to ambient noise (microtremor) recording for site and building response studies. Seism Res Lett 71(6): 698–703 Google Scholar
  7. Chávez-García FJ and Cárdenas-Soto M (2002). The contribution of the built environment to the ‘free-field’ ground motion in Mexico City. Soil Dyn Earth Eng 22: 773–780 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cornou C, Guéguen P, Bard P-Y and Haghshenas E (2005). Ambient noise energy bursts observation and modeling: trapping of harmonic structure-soil induced waves in a topmost sedimentary layer. J Seismol 8: 507–524 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Di Giulio G, Azzara RM, Cultrera G, Giammarinaro MS, Vallone P and Rovelli A (2005). Effect of local geology on ground motion in the city of Palermo, Italy, as inferred from aftershocks of the 6 September 2002 Mw 5.9 earthquake. Bull Seism Soc Am 95(6): 2328–2341 doi: 10.1785/0120040219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dunand F (2005) Pertinence du bruit de fond sismique pour la caractérisation dynamique et l’aide au diagnostic sismique des structures de génie civil. Ph.D. thesis, Grenoble University, France, 378 ppGoogle Scholar
  11. Dunand F, Bard P-Y, Chatelain J-L, Guéguen P. Vassail T, Farsi M (2002) Damping and frequency from randomdec method applied to in situ measurements of ambient vibrations: evidence for effective soil structure interaction. Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Earthquake Engineering, London, September 9–13, 2002Google Scholar
  12. Gallipoli MR, Mucciarelli M, Castro RR, Monachesi G and Contri P (2004). Structure, soil-structure response and effects of damage based on observations of horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratios of microtremors. Soil Dyn Earth Eng 24: 487–495 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Guéguen Ph (2000) Interaction sismique entre le sol et le bâti: de l’interaction sol-structure à l’interaction site-ville. Ph.D. thesis, Grenoble University, France, 184 ppGoogle Scholar
  14. Guillier B, Atakan K, Duval A-M, Ohrnberger M, Azzara R, Cara F, Havskov J, Alguacil G, Teves-Costa P, Theodulidis N, the SESAME Project WP02-Team (2002a) Influence of instrumentation on H/V spectra of ambient noise. EGS, 22–26 April 2002, Nice, FranceGoogle Scholar
  15. Guillier B, Atakan K, Duval A-M, Ohrnberger M, Azzara R, Cara F, Havskov J, Alguacil G, Teves-Costa P, Theodulidis N, the SESAME Project WP02-Team (2002b) Influence of instrumentation on H/V spectra of ambient noise. European Seismological Commission, September 2002, Genova, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  16. Guillier B, Atakan K, Chatelain J-L, Havskov J, Ohrnberger M, Cara F, Duval A-M, Zacharopoulos S, Teves-Costa P, the SESAME Team (2005) Influence of instruments on the H/V spectral ratios of ambient vibrations. this volumeGoogle Scholar
  17. Horike M, Zhao B and Kawaze H (2001). Comparison of site response characteristics inferred from microtremors and earthquake shear waves. Bull Seism Soc Am 91(6): 1526–1536 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Koller MG, Chatelain J-L, Guillier B, Duval AM, Atakan K, Lacave C, Bard P-Y, the SESAME participants (2004) Practical user guideline and software for the implementation of the H/V ratio technique on ambient vibrations: measuring conditions, processing method and results interpretation. In: Proceedings of the 13th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Vancouver, BC, Canada August 1–6, 2004, Paper n°3132Google Scholar
  19. Konno K and Ohmachi T (1998). Ground-motion characteristics estimated from sSpectral ratio between horizontal and vertical components of microtremor. Bull Seism Soc Am 88(1): 228–241 Google Scholar
  20. Louie JN (2001). Faster, better: shear-wave velocity to 100 meters depth from refraction microtremor arrays. Bull Seism Soc Am 91(2): 347–364 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Miller RD, Xia J, Park CB and Ivanov JM (1999). Multichannel analysis of surface waves to map bedrock. Leading Edge 18: 1392–1396 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mucciarelli M (1998). Reliability and applicability of Nakamura’s technique using microtremors: an experimental approach. J Earthq Eng 2(4): 625–638 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mucciarelli M and Monachesi G (1998). A quick survey of local amplifications and their correlation with damage observed during the Umbro-Marchesan earthquake of September 26, 1997. J Earthquake Eng 2: 325–337 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mucciarelli M, Gallipoli M and Arcieri M (2003). The stability of the horizontal-to-vertical ratio of triggered noise and earthquake recordings. Bull Seism Soc Am 93(3): 1407–1412 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mucciarelli M, Gallipoli M, Di Giacomo D, Di Nota F and Nino E (2005). The influence of wind on measurements of seismic noise. Geophys J Int 161(2): 303–308 doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2004.02561.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nakamura Y (1989). A method for dynamic characteristics estimation of subsurface using microtremor on the ground surface. Quaterly Rep Railway Tech Res Inst 30(1): 25–30 Google Scholar
  27. Parolai S and Galiana-Merino JJ (2006). Effect of transient seismic noise on estimates of H/V Spectral ratios. Bull Seis Sco Am 96(1): 228–236 doi: 10.1785/0120050084CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. SESAME WP02 team (2002) WP02, Controlled Instrumental Specifications, University of Bergen. European Commission—Research General Directorate Project No. EVG1-CT-2000-00026 SESAME, report D01.02, 80 fig., 250 ppGoogle Scholar
  29. SESAME WP02 team (2003) WP02, Final report on Measurement Guidelines, H/V Technique: experimental conditions, LGIT Grenoble, CETE Nice. European Commission—Research General Directorate Project No. EVG1-CT-2000-00026 SESAME, report D08.02, 57 fig., 96 ppGoogle Scholar
  30. Volant Ph, Orbovic N, Cotton F (1998) Estimation of site response using the H/V method: application and limits of this technique on Garner Valley downhole array dataset (California). In: Proceedings of the 11th European conference on earthquake engineering, ParisGoogle Scholar
  31. Whiters M, Aster R, Young C and Chael E (1996). High-frequency analysis of seismic background noise as a function of wind speed and shallow depth. Bull Seism Soc Am 86(5): 1507–1515 Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Luc Chatelain
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bertrand Guillier
    • 1
  • Fabrizio Cara
    • 2
  • Anne-Marie Duval
    • 3
  • Kuvvet Atakan
    • 4
  • Pierre-Yves Bard
    • 5
  • The WP02 SESAME team
  1. 1.IRD-LGITGrenoble Cedex 9France
  2. 2.INGVRomaItaly
  3. 3.CETENiceFrance
  4. 4.UiBBergenNorway
  5. 5.LCPC-LGITGrenobleFrance

Personalised recommendations