Acta Geophysica

, Volume 66, Issue 6, pp 1413–1433 | Cite as

The investigation of soil–structure resonance of historical buildings using seismic refraction and ambient vibrations HVSR measurements: a case study from Trabzon in Turkey

  • Ali Erden BabacanEmail author
  • Özgenç Akın
Research Article - Applied Geophysics


In this study, two different historical structures built in Trabzon have been processed by ambient vibrations and seismic refraction measurements. One of the investigated historical structures is the Atatürk Pavilion built in the nineteenth century, and the other one is Hagia Sophia which was built in the thirteenth century. These two buildings are among the most important historical buildings in Trabzon and are very important for the tourism of the city. In order to determine peak/s frequency and amplitude from the horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratios (HVSRs), we have performed several measurements of ambient vibrations both inside (at different floors) and outside (on the ground) of structures. We have also conducted seismic prospecting to evaluate the vertical 1D and 2D profile of longitudinal and shear seismic waves, Vp and Vs, respectively. To this purpose, we have performed seismic refraction tomography and MASW. Ambient vibrations and seismic measurements were compared with each other. The results show that average predominant frequencies and HVSR amplitudes of inside and outside of Atatürk Pavilion are 4.0 Hz, 7.8 Hz and 2.6, 2.3, respectively. The Vp values vary from 300 to 2070 m/s, and the Vs for maximum effective depth is up to 790 m/s in Atatürk Pavilion. On the other hand, average predominant frequencies and HVSR amplitudes of inside and outside of Hagia Sophia and its tower are 4.7, 4.4 and 2.4 Hz and 1.6, 1.8 and 6.9, respectively. Vp values range from 450 to 2200 m/s, and Vs for maximum effective depth is also up to 1000 m/s in Hagia Sophia. The frequency values (F0 = Vs/4 h) calculated from the velocities up to the maximum effective depth for Atatürk Pavilion are in good agreement with the predominant frequency values determined from ambient vibrations. Atatürk Pavilion and Hagia Sophia soils have been classed according to Eurocode 8 by using VS30 values. The class was defined as “B.” Moreover, the bedrock in studied area is basalt. The high Vp and Vs values are also compatible with the lithology. The HVSR curves measured at the Hagia Sophia show the presence of clear peaks when compared to the Atatürk Pavilion. At the same time, there are marked velocity changes in the Vs sections calculated in both areas. As a result, in both areas there are significant impedance contrasts in the subsoil. However, this impedance contrast is more evident in Hagia Sophia. This could be also compatible with a lithological transition. The possible soil–structure interaction was investigated by using all the results and evaluated in terms of resonance risk. It is thought that the probability of resonance risk at Atatürk Pavilion is low according to the ambient vibrations measurements. However, resonance risk should be taken into consideration at Hagia Sophia site since the predominant frequency values are very close to each other. Finally, this site should be investigated in detail and necessary precautions should be taken against the risk of resonance.


Historical structures Ambient vibrations Seismic refraction tomography MASW 



The authors are grateful to the Ortahisar District Governorate and Trabzon Metropolitan Municipality for their precious helps. The authors would like to thank students of Geophysical Engineering Department for their help in field measurements. We also thank Dr. Koichi Hayashi for his help joint inversion of the H/V and dispersion curves. We would like to thanks Dr. Marta Pischiutta, other reviewer and editor for their helpful suggestions and comments.


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Copyright information

© Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences & Polish Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geophysics EngineeringKaradeniz Technical UniversityTrabzonTurkey

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