Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 623–645 | Cite as

Directional dependence of site effects observed near a basin edge at Aegion, Greece

  • Olga-Joan Ktenidou
  • Francisco-J. Chávez-García
  • Dimitrios Raptakis
  • Kyriazis D. Pitilakis
Original Research Paper


We study site effects using 520 weak motion earthquake records from a vertical array in Aegion, Greece. The array is inside a basin, has four stations in soil, and one in bedrock (178 m depth). The site is marked by high seismicity and complex surface geology. We first use the records to establish the downhole accelerometer orientations and their evolution with time. Then we estimate site effects using empirical spectral ratios with and without a reference site (standard and horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio). We find significant site amplification which cannot be accounted for by 1D model predictions, along with a significant difference in the amplification level between the two horizontal components. These are indications of 2D effects, namely surface waves generated at the basin edge. The difference in amplification between the horizontal components is maximised when these are rotated with respect to the orientation of the basin edge. The strongest amplification takes place in the direction parallel to the basin edge (SH, or out-of-plane motion), and is up to 2 times higher than in the perpendicular direction (SV, or in-plane motion). This directional effect on the amplification is corroborated by numerical 2D modelling using incident SH and SV waves, with the former possibly generating strong Love waves. In the records, the directionality is clear for windows containing the largest amplitudes of the records (S waves and strong surface waves), while it tends to vanish for coda-wave windows. This directionality is also observed when using response spectral ratios rather than Fourier ratios. We compute soil-to-rock amplification factors for peak ground acceleration (PGA) and find it is significantly higher than what is predicted by current design codes. We attribute this difference to the basin edge amplification, linear soil behaviour, and to the inability of simple scalar values like PGA to describe complex amplification effects. Finally, we analyse the earthquake records at a surface station near the slope crest and do not observe significant topographic amplification.


Site effects Basin edge Amplification Directionality CORSSA Downhole array 



M. Lancieri (Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire - IRSN) provided valuable guidance in signal analysis and catalogue improvement. We thank S. Arnaouti, P.-Y. Bard, D. Bindi, F. Bonilla, D. Boore, F. Cotton, H. Kawase, A. Kiratzi, A. Laurendeau, M. Manakou, Z. Roumelioti, S. Specht for helpful discussions. Special thanks go to S. Parolai and E. Riga. The suggestions of two anonymous reviewers helped improve and enrich the manuscript. The research was partly funded by European research Projects LESSLOSS, 3HAZ, and NEMISREF, French Projects ANR DEBATE and SIGMA, and the Propondis Foundation. F. J. C. G. thanks Coordinación de la Investigación Científica, UNAM, for support. Signal processing benefitted from SAC2008 (Goldstein et al. 2003; Goldstein and Snoke 2005). Some plots were made using Generic Mapping Tools v.3.4 (Wessel and Smith 1998). The CORSSA array was funded by European research project CORSEIS and the CORSSA agreement between Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), Greece; National Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), Greece; and IRSN, France. Records from CORSSA were made available through the CORSSA agreement. Records from DIM were provided by K. Makropoulos. The earthquake catalogues used are: AUTH, (last accessed 12/2011); NKUA, (last accessed 12/2011); National Observatory of Athens, (last accessed: 12/2011); Patras Seismological Laboratory, (last accessed 12/2011).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessaloníkiGreece
  2. 2.Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for GeosciencesPotsdamGermany
  3. 3.Instituto de IngenieríaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexicoMexico

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