Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 385–399 | Cite as

Improving the spatial resolution of ground motion variability using earthquake and seismic noise data: the example of Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan)

  • S. UllahEmail author
  • D. Bindi
  • M. Pittore
  • M. Pilz
  • S. Orunbaev
  • B. Moldobekov
  • S. Parolai
Original Research Paper


Site response analysis plays an important role in seismic hazard and risk assessment, and in defining the optimal engineering design for civil structures. However, due to increasing urbanization, target areas are often too vast to be covered by standard approaches, resulting in large uncertainties in the spatial variability of the expected ground motion. Here, we propose a method to improve the spatial resolution of ground motion variability in terms of Standard Spectral Ratios (SSRs), using earthquakes recorded at a few selected sites for a relatively short amount of time, and seismic noise data collected over a denser grid, taking advantage of clustering and correlation analysis. The method is applied to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Using the K-means clustering algorithm, three clusters of site response types have been identified, based on their similarity of SSRs. The cluster’s site responses were adopted for sites where only single station noise measurements were carried out, based on the results of correlation analysis. The spatial variability of the site response correlates well with the main geological features in the area. In particular, variability is noted from south to north, consistent with both the changes in the thickness of the sedimentary cover over the basin and in the Quaternary material outcropping at the surface. This method has therefore the potential to improve the estimation of site effects at the local scale in the future.


Microzonation Clustering analysis Correlation analysis  Site response analysis 



Shahid Ullah carried out this work within the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) regional project Earthquake Model Central Asia (EMCA) while a doctoral student at the Technical University Berlin. His study at TU Berlin is supported by a developmental project “Strengthening of existing earthquake engineering center” University of Engineering & Technology, Peshawar Pakistan. Dr. K. Fleming kindly revised our English. We are grateful to the editor in chief A. Ansal and the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. Some of the figures presented in this manuscript have been generated using the GMT software package (Wessel and Smith 1991).

Supplementary material

10518_2012_9401_MOESM1_ESM.mpg (2.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (mpg 2426 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Ullah
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. Bindi
    • 1
  • M. Pittore
    • 1
  • M. Pilz
    • 1
  • S. Orunbaev
    • 2
  • B. Moldobekov
    • 2
  • S. Parolai
    • 1
  1. 1.Helmholtz Centre PotsdamGFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences PotsdamGermany
  2. 2.Central Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences (CAIAG) BishkekKyrgyzstan

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