pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 124, Issue 4–5, pp 919–930 | Cite as

Seismic energy release over a broad frequency band

  • Bruce A. Bolt


There remains much uncertainty on the absolute elastic wave energy released by fault rupture. Few direct estimates of the partition of seismic wave energy in ground shaking have been made. In this work, ground particle velocities from integrated accelerograms are used to compute the kinetic energy crossing unit area per unit time. Simplified theory for the near-field strong-motion case would appear to give a valid lower energy bound; the wave attenuation does not present a major problem. The partition of energy in predominantly P, S, and surface wave portions, for given frequency windows, is tabulated using strong-motion accelerograms recorded at different azimuths to the fault-sources of six California earthquakes (5.5<ML<7.2). Checks against earlier magnitudeML and momentM0 correlations indicate significantly higher overall wave energy outputs than expected, but further calibration is needed.

The study demonstrates that stable estimates of frequency-dependent seismic wave energies in the nearfield can be obtained from strong-motion records. Hence, energy flux may have a wider application to risk mapping than previously thought. In particular, a shift from peak acceleration scaling to (kinetic) energy inputs for engineering design appears to involve only routine processing.

Key words

Earthquake energy accelerogram 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce A. Bolt
    • 1
  1. 1.Seismographic StationUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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