Skip to main content
Log in

Local site effect microzonation of Lorca town (SE Spain)

  • Original Research Paper
  • Published:
Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Local site effect assessment based on subsurface ground conditions is often the key to evaluate urban seismic hazard. The site effect evaluation in Lorca town (south-eastern Spain) started with a classification of urban geology through the geological mapping at scale 1:10,000 and the use of geotechnical data and geophysical surveys. The 17 geological formations identified were classified into 5 geological/seismic formations according to their seismic amplification capacity obtained from ambient vibration measurements as well as from simultaneous strong motion records. The shear-wave velocity structure of each geological/seismic formation was evaluated by means of inversion of Rayleigh wave dispersion data obtained from vertical-component array records of ambient noise. Nakamura’s method was applied to determine a predominant period distribution map. The spectral amplification factors were fourfold the values recorded in a reference hard-rock site. Finally, the capability of this study for explaining the damage distribution caused by the May 11th, 2011 Lorca destructive earthquake (Mw \(=\) 5.2) was examined. The methods used in this work are of assistance to evaluate ground amplification phenomena in urban areas of complex geology as Lorca town due to future earthquakes with applicability on urban seismic risk management.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Alcalá FJ, Espinosa J, Navarro M, Sánchez FJ (2002) Propuesta de división geológica regional de la localidad de Adra (provincia de Almería). Aplicación a la zonación sísmica. Revista Sociedad Geológica España 15:55–66

    Google Scholar 

  • Alcalá FJ, Guerrera F, Martín-Martín M, Raffaelli G, Serrano F (2013) Geodynamic implications derived from Numidian-like distal turbidites deposited along the Internal-External Domain Boundary of the Betic Cordillera (S, Spain). Terra Nova. doi:10.1111/ter.12014

  • Alfaro P, Andreu JM, Delgado J, Estévez A, Soria JM, Teixido T (2002) Quaternary deformation of the Bajo Segura blind fault (Eastern Betic Cordillera, Spain) revealed by high-resolution reflection profiling. Geol Mag 139(3):331–341

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alguacil G, Vidal F, Navarro M, García-Jerez A, Pérez-Muelas J (2013) Characterization of earthquake shaking severity at different sites of Lorca town for the May 11th, 2011 event. Bull Earthq Eng. In this issue

  • Aki K (1957) Space and time spectra of stationary stochastic waves, with special reference to microtremors. Bull Earthq Res Inst 35:415–456

    Google Scholar 

  • Aranda C, Vidal F, Alguacil G, Navarro M, Carvallo JF (2012) Damage analysis due to 2010 Chilean earthquake in Viña del Mar residential buildings. 15th world conference on earthquake engineering, Lisbon, p 7

  • Ashford SA, Sitar N, Lysmer J, Deng N (1997) Topographic effects on the seismic response of steep slopes. Bull Seismol Soc Am 87(3):701–709

    Google Scholar 

  • Bakir S, Sukuoglu H, Yilmaz T (2002) An overview of local site effects and the associated building damage in Adapazari during the 17 August 1999 Izmit earthquake. Bull Seismol Soc Am 92(1):509–526

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barka A (1999) The 17 August 1999 Izmit earthquake. Science 285:1858–1859

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Benito B, Capote R, Murphy P, Gaspar-Escribano JM, Martínez-Díaz JJ, Tsige M, Stich D, García-Mayordomo J, Jiménez ME, Insua-Arévalo JM, Alvarez-Gómez JA, Canora C (2006) An overview of the damaging and low magnitude Mw 4.8 La Paca earthquake on 29 January 2005: context, seismotectonics, and seismic risk implications for Southeast Spain. Bull Seismol Soc Am 97:671–690

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Benito B, Navarro M, Vidal F, Gaspar-Escribano J, García MJ, Martínez-Solares JM (2010) A new seismic hazard assessment in the Region of Andalusia (Southern Spain). Bull Earthquake Eng 8:739–766

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bousquet JC (1979) Quaternary strike-slip faults in southeastern Spain. Tectonophysics 52:277–286

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bowles JE (1988) Foundation analysis and design, 4th edn. McGraw-Hill, New York City

    Google Scholar 

  • Cucci L, Tertulliani A (2011) Clues for a relation between rotational effects induced by the 2009 Mw 6.3 L’Aquila (Central Italy) earthquake and site and source effects. Bull Seismol Soc Am 101(3):1109–1120

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Delgado J, Alfaro P, Andreu JM, Cuenca A, Doménech C, Estévez A et al (2003) Engineering-geological model of the Segura River flood plain (SE Spain): a case study for engineering planning. Eng Geol 68:171–187

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dobry R, Borcherdt RD, Crouse CB, Idriss IM, Joyner WB, Martin GR, Power MS, Rinne EE, Seed RB (2000) New site coefficients and site classification system used in recent building seismic code provisions. Earthq Spectra 16:41–68

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Egeler CG, Rondeel HE, Pignatelli R (1981) Geological Map of Spain 1:50,000, sheet no. 953 (Lorca). IGME, Madrid

    Google Scholar 

  • Eurocode No.8 (1998) Design of structures for earthquake resistance. Commission of the European Communities. Doc CEN/TC250/SC8/N335

  • European Macroseismic Scale (1998) Conseil de L’Europe. In: Grunthal G (ed) Cahiers du Centre Européen de Géodynamique et de Séismologie, vol 15. Luxembourg

  • Fairhurst CE, Hudson JA (1999) Draft ISRM suggested method for the complete stress-strain curve for intact rock in uniaxial compression. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 36:279–289

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • García-Hernández M, López-Garrido AC, Rivas P, Vera JA (1980) Mesozoic paleogeographic evolution of the External Zone of the Betic Cordillera. Geol Mijnbouw 59:68–155

    Google Scholar 

  • García-Jerez A, Navarro M, Alcalá FJ, Luzón F, Pérez-Ruíz JA, Enomoto T, Vidal F, Ocaña E (2007a) Shallow velocity structure using joint inversion of array and H/V spectral ratio of ambient noise: the case of Mula Town (SE Spain). Soil Dyn Earthq Eng 27:907–919

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • García-Jerez A, Navarro M, Luzón F, Pérez-Ruiz JA (2007b) Obtención de modelos de velocidad de onda S a partir de las características de las ondas superficiales mediante combinación paralelizada de métodos iterativos de minimización local y métodos de búsqueda aleatoria. In: Proceedings Tercer Congreso Nacional de Ingeniería Sísmica, pp 504–512

  • García-Jerez A, Luzón F, Navarro M (2008) Determination of the elastic properties and the depth of shallow sedimentary deposits applying a spatial autocorrelation method. Geomorphology 93:74–88

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Garcia-Jerez A, Luzón F, Navarro M, Santoyo MA (2010) Assesing the reliability of the single circular array method for love wave surveying. Bull Seismol Soc Am 100(5A):2230–2249

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • García-Mayordomo J (2005) Caracterización y Análisis de la Peligrosidad Sísmica en el Sureste de España. Tesis Doctoral. Universidad Complutense de Madrid, pp 373

  • García-Mayordomo J, Álvarez-Gómez JA (2006) Estimación del terremoto máximo posible y su intervalo de recurrencia en la Falla de Carrascoy (Murcia) para su implementación en el cálculo de la peligrosidad sísmica de la región. Geogaceta 39:51–54

    Google Scholar 

  • García-Mayordomo J, Martínez-Díaz JJ (2006) Caracterización sísmica del Anticlinorio del Bajo Segura (Alicante): Fallas del Bajo Segura, Torrevieja y San Miguel de Salinas. Geogaceta 40:19–22

    Google Scholar 

  • Instituto Andaluz de Geofísica (IAG) (2011) Terremoto Lorca (11 Mayo 2011), estudios preliminares, Granada. Available at

  • Instituto Geográfica Nacional (IGN) (2011) Serie terremoto NE Lorca (Murcia), Madrid. Avaialble at

  • Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (IGME) (1992) Estudio de la peligrosidad y vulnerabilidad sísmica en Lorca y su término municipal. Ed.: IGME and Murcia Government, p 197

  • Ismet A, Tildy P, Prónay Z, Pinar A, Hermann L (2006) VS30 mapping and soil classification for seismic site effect evaluation in Dinar region, SW Turkey. Geophys J Int 165:223–235

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lachet C, Hatzfeld D, Bard PY, Theodulidis N, Papaioannou C, Savvaidis A (1996) Site effects and microzonation in the city of Thessaloniki (Greece) comparison of different approaches. Bull Seismol Soc Am 6:1692–1703

    Google Scholar 

  • Laouamia N, Slimania A, Bouhadada Y, Chatelaina JL, Noura A (2006) Evidence for fault-related directionality and localized site effects from strong motion recordings of the 2003 Boumerdes (Algeria) earthquake: Consequences on damage distribution and the Algerian seismic code. Soil Dyn Earthq Eng 26(11): 991–1003

    Google Scholar 

  • Luzón F, Almendros J, García-Jerez A (2011) Shallow structure of deception Island, Antarctica, from correlations of ambient seismic noise on a set of dense seismic arrays. Geophys J Int 185:737–748

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maqsood ST, Schwarz J (2008) Analysis of building damage during the 8 October 2005 earthquake. Pak Seismol Res Lett 79:163–177

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Martínez Díaz JJ, Hernández-Enrile JL (2001) Using travertine deformations to characterize paleoseismic activity on an active oblique-slip fault: the Alhama de Murcia Fault (Betic Cordillera-Spain). Acta Geol Hispanica Geol Acta 36(3–4):297–313

    Google Scholar 

  • Masana E, Martínez-Díaz JJ, Hernández-Enrile JL, Santanach P (2004) The Alhama de Murcia fault (SE Spain), a seismogenic fault in a diffuse plate boundary: Seismotectonic implications for the Ibero-Magrebian region. J Geophys Res 109:B01301

    Google Scholar 

  • Mayne PW, Rix GJ (1993) Relationships for clay. Geotech Test J 16:54–60

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mucciarelli M, Masi A, Gallipoli MR, Harabaglia P, Vona M, Ponzo F, Dolce M (2002) Analysis of RC building dynamic response and soil-building resonance based on data recorded during a damaging earthquake (Molise, Italy, 2002). Bull Seismol Soc Am 94(5):1943–1953

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nakamura Y (1989) A method for dynamic characteristics estimation of subsurface using microtremor on the ground surface. Q Rep Railw TechRes Inst 30:25–33

    Google Scholar 

  • Navarro M, Corchete V, Badal JI, Pujades L, Canas JA, Vidal F (1997) Inversion of Rg waveforms in southern Spain. Bull Seismol Soc Am 87:847–865

    Google Scholar 

  • Navarro M, Sánchez FJ, Enomoto T, Vidal F, Rubio S (2000) Relation between the predominant period of soil ant the damage distribution afther Mula 1999 earthquake. In: 6th international conference on seismic zonation (6ICSC). Palm Spring, California

  • Navarro M, Vidal F, Feriche M, Enomoto T, Sánchez FJ, Matsuda I (2004) Expected ground-RC building structures resonance phenomena in Granada city (southern Spain). In: 13th world conference on earthquake engineering. Vancouver, (paper 3308) p 11

  • Navarro M, Vidal F, Enomoto T, Alcalá FJ, Sánchez FJ, Abeki N (2007) Analysis of site effects weightiness on RC building seismic response. The Adra (SE Spain) example. Earthq Eng Struct Dyn 36:1363–1383

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Navarro M, Enomoto T, Yamamoto T, García-Jerez A, Vidal F, Bretón M (2008) Analysis of site effects and their correlation with damage distribution observed during the Colima (Mexico) earthquake of January 21, 2003. In: Proceeding 14th world conference on earthquake engineering, Beijing

  • Nazarian S (1984) In situ determination of elastic moduli of soil deposits and pavement systems by spectral analysis of surface waves method. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, Austin

  • NCSE-02 (2002) Normativa de Construcción Sismorresistente Española. Comisión Permanente de Normas Sismorresistentes, Real Decreto 997/2002. Boletín Oficial Del Estado No. 244

  • NEHRP (2003) Recommendation prevision for seismic regulation for new buildings and other structures, Building Seismic Saftey Council, Washington, Federal Emergency, FEMA

  • Ohta Y, Goto N (1978) Empirical shear wave velocity equations in terms of characteristic soil indexes. Earthq Eng Struct Dyn 6:87–167

    Google Scholar 

  • Olsen KB, Archuleta RJ, Matarese JR (1995) Three-dimensional simulation of a magnitude 7.75 earthquake on the San Andreas fault. Science 270:1628–1632

    Google Scholar 

  • Paquet J (1969) Étude géologique de l’Ouest de la province de Murcie (Espagne). Bull Soc Géol France 111:1–270

    Google Scholar 

  • Parolai S, Picozzi M, Richwalski SM, Milkereit C (2005) Joint inversion of phase dispersion and H/V ratio curves from seismic noise recordings using a genetic algorithm. Geophys Res Lett 32:L01303

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Park CB, Miller RD, Xia J (1999) Multichannel analysis of surface waves. Geophysics 64(3):800–808

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Paterson MS (1978) Experimental rock deformation—the brittle field. Springer, New York, p 254

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Peng Cui, Xiao-Qing Chen, Ying-Yan Zhu, Feng-Huan Su, Fang-Qiang Wei, Yong-Shun Han, Hong-Jiang Liu, Jian-Qi Zhuang (2011) The Wenchuan earthquake (May 12, 2008), Sichuan Province, China, and resulting geohazards. Nat Haz 56(1):19–36

  • Sanz de Galdeano C, Lopez Casado C, Delgado J, Peinado MA (1995) Shallow seismicity and active faults in the Betic Cordillera. A preliminary approach to seismic sources associated with specific faults. Tectonophysics 248:293–302

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • SESAME (2004) Guidelines for the implementation of the H/V spectral ratio technique on ambient vibrations. Measurements, processing and interpretation. SESAME European research project WP12-deliverable D23.12.

  • Silva PG, Goy L, Zazo C (1992) Características estructurales y geométricas de la falla de desgarre de Lorca-Alhama. Geogaceta 12:8–9

    Google Scholar 

  • Sykora DW, Koester PJ (1988) Correlations between dynamic shear resistance and standard penetration resistance in soils. Earthq Eng Soil Dyn 2:389–404

    Google Scholar 

  • Tokimatsu K (1997) Geotechnical site characterization using surface waves. In: Ishihara K (ed) Earthquake geotechnical engineering. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 1333–1368

    Google Scholar 

  • Towhaka I, Roteix R (1988) Probabilistic estimation of shear wave velocity of sands in terms of SPT-N and its application to seismic response analysis. In: Proceedings of the annual meeting of Japanese soil mechanics and foundation engineering, pp 825–828

  • Vidal F (1986) Sismotectónica de la región Béticas-Mar de Alborán. Tesis Doctoral. Universidad de Granada

  • Vidal F, Mourabit T, Navarro M, Enomoto T, Feriche M (2004) A preliminary account of the intensity and structural damage of the 24 february 2004 Al Hoceima (Morocco) earthquake. XXIX General Assembly of the European Seismological Commission, Postdam

  • Vidal F, Navarro M, Aranda C, Enomoto T (2012) Fundamental period and damping shift due to 2011 Lorca (Spain) earthquake from in-situ ambient noise measurements. Bull Earthquake Eng. (In this issue)

  • Wang Z (2001) Fundamentals of seismic rock physics. Geophysics 66:398–412

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zeck HP, Albat F, Hansen BT, Torres-Rodán RL, García-Casco A, Martín-Algarra A (1989) A 21 \(\pm \) 2 Ma age for the termination of the ductile Alpine deformation in the internal zone of the Betic Cordilleras, South Spain. Tectonophysics 169:215–220

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors wish to express their sincere gratitude to all those who helped them during the survey, especially to the local government of Lorca town. This research was supported by the Spanish coordinate projects CGL2007-66745-C02-01-02/BTE and CGL2011-30187-C02-01-02 from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, and the European Community with FEDER. Part of the work of the second author was under Juan de la Cierva contract at Universidad de Granada. The third author is also grateful to the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education for the ‘Ciência 2008’ Programme Contract C2008-IST/CVRM.1.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to M. Navarro.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Navarro, M., García-Jerez, A., Alcalá, F.J. et al. Local site effect microzonation of Lorca town (SE Spain). Bull Earthquake Eng 12, 1933–1959 (2014).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: