Reconnaissance report and preliminary ground motion simulation of the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake
- 503 Downloads
The M w = 8.0 Wenchuan earthquake of May 12, 2008, caused destruction over a wide area. The earthquake cost more than 69,000 lives and the damage is reported to have left more than 5 million people homeless. It is estimated that 5.36 million buildings were destroyed and 21 million buildings were damaged in Sichuan and the nearby provinces. Economic losses due to the event are estimated to be 124 billion USD. From a field reconnaissance trip conducted in October 2008, it is evident that the combination of several factors, including mountainous landscape, strong ground shaking, extensive landslides and rock-falls, has exacerbated the human and economic consequences of this earthquake. Extensive damage occurred over a wide area due to the shear size of the earthquake rupture combined with poor quality building construction. In order to investigate the ground shaking during the earthquake, we have conducted a strong ground motion simulation study, applying a hybrid broadband frequency technique. The preliminary results show large spatial variation in the ground shaking, with the strongest ground motions along the fault plane. The simulation results have been calibrated against the recorded ground motion from several near-field stations in the area, and acceleration values of the order of 1 g are obtained, similar to what was recorded during the event. Comparison with the damage distribution observed in the field confirms that the effect of fault rupture complexity on the resulting ground motion distribution also controls to a large extent the damage distribution. The applied simulation technique provides a promising platform for predictive studies.
KeywordsDamage distribution Field reconnaissance Ground motion simulation Wenchuan earthquake
We would like to thank the Earthquake Administration of Sichuan Province, Sichuan Provincial Department of Construction and Sichuan Association for Science & Technology who co-sponsored the field trip to the Wenchuan Earthquake Area for the 14th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering. We are grateful to the staff of China Earthquake Administration, Earthquake Administration of Sichuan Province, China Southwest Architectural Design and Institute Corp. Ltd., Sichuan Provincial Institute of Architectural Design, Sichuan Association for Science and Technology, Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital and the translators who made this trip possible. We would also like to thank PhD Moh Huang for locations of the stations Wolong, Baijiao and Qingping, used in the ground motion simulations. We are grateful to Nelson Pulido for comments on the engineering aspects of this study and Susanne Sargeant for proof reading and thoughtful comments. Finally, we appreciate the comments from the two anonymous reviewers.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.
- Bjerrum LW, Sørensen MB, Atakan K (2010) Strong ground motion simulation of the 12 May 2008 M 7.9 Wenchuan earthquake, using various slip models. Bull Seismol Soc Am. doi: 10.1785/0120090239
- Boore DM (1983) Stochastic simulation of high-frequency ground motions based on seismological models of the radiated spectra. Bull Seismol Soc Am 73: 1865–1894Google Scholar
- Bouchon M (1981) A simple method to calculate Green’s functions for elastic layered media. Bull Seismol Soc Am 71: 959–971Google Scholar
- Burchfiel BC, Royden LH, vander Hilst RD, Hager BH, Chen Z, King RW, Li C, Lü J, Yao H, Kirby E (2008) A geological and geophysical context for the Wenchuan earthquake of 12 May 2008, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China, GSA Today 18, 4–11Google Scholar
- China.org.cn (2010) Casualities in SW China’s worst earthquake. http://www.china.org.cn/wenchuan_earthquake/2008-05/14/content_15220061.htm, April 2010
- Earthquake Administration of Sichuan Province, China (ed) (2008) Guide to the Trip to the 5.12 Sichuan Earthquake Area for the 14th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, 18–19 October 2008Google Scholar
- Fukushima Y, Tanaka T (1990) A new attenuation relation for peak horizontal acceleration of strong earthquake ground motion in Japan. Bull Seismol Soc Am 80: 757–783Google Scholar
- Irikura K (1986) Prediction of strong acceleration motion using empirical Green’s functions. Paper presented at the 7th Japan Earthquake Symposium, JapanGoogle Scholar
- Ji C, Hayes G (2008) Source model of the May 12th 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/eqarchives/poster/2008/20080512.php, July 2008
- Koketsu K, Yokota Y, Ghasemi H, Hikima K, Miyake H, Wang Z (2009) Source process and ground motions of the 2008 wenchuan earthquake. Investigation report of the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, China, Grant-in-Aid for Special Purposes of 2008, MEXT. http://shake.iis.u-tokyo.ac.jp/wenchuan/, June 2009
- Kramer SL (1996) Geotechnical earthquake engineering. Prentice Hall Inc, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
- Lei X, Kuwahara Y (2008) Seismological aspects of the Wenchuan earthquake, China. Grant-in-Aid for Special Purposes of 2008, MEXT. http://shake.iis.u-tokyo.ac.jp/wenchuan/, June 2009
- Nishimura N, Yagi Y (2008) Rupture process for May 12, 2008 Sichuan earthquake (Ver. 2). Japan University of Tsukuba, http://www.geol.tsukuba.ac.jp/~nisimura/20080512/, June 2008.
- Sadigh K, Chang C Y, Egan JA, Makdisi F, Young RR (1997) Attenuation relationships for shallow crustal earthquakes based on California strong motion data. Seism Res Lett 68: 180–189Google Scholar
- USGS (2009) Magnitude 7.9 - Eastern Sichuan, Chian. http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/eqinthenews/2008/us2008ryan/#summary, June 2009
- USGS Landslide Hazard Program (2009) Landslides From the Sichuan (Wenchuan) Earthquake, China, May 2008. http://landslides.usgs.gov/learning/photos/international/landslides_from_the_sichuan__wenchuan__earthquake__china__may_2008, September 2009
- Wang SY, Yu YX, Gao AJ, Yan XJ (2000) Development of attenuation relations for ground motion in China. Earthquake Research in China 16:99–106; (in Chinese)Google Scholar
- Wells DL, Coppersmith KJ (1994) New empirical relationships among magnitude, rupture length, rupture width, rupture area, and surface displacement. Bull Seismol Soc Am 84: 974–1002Google Scholar
- Zhang P, Yang ZX, Gupta HK, Bhatia SC, Shedlock KM (1999) Global seismic hazard assemssment program (GSHAP) in continental Asia. http://www.seismo.ethz.ch/GSHAP/eastasia, April 2010
- Zhao Z, Zhang R (1987) Preliminary study of crustal and upper mantle velocity structure of Sichuan Province. ACTA Seismologica Sinica 9:99–106; (in Chinese)Google Scholar
- Zifa W, Chunfeng H, Baitao S, Xiaojun L, Yifan Y, Minzheng Z, Shanyou L, Xiaoxin W, Yong LS, Jianguo X, Mingyu Z, Lili X, Zhenpeng L (2008) General introduction to engineering damage during Wenchuan earthquake. In: Lili X (eds) Supplement to Earthquake Eng. Eng. Vib. Science Press, Beijing, p 114Google Scholar