Journal of Seismology

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 41–56 | Cite as

Use of microtremor measurement for assessing site effects in Northern Belgium – interpretation of the observed intensity during the MS = 5.0 June 11 1938 earthquake

  • F. Nguyen
  • G. Van Rompaey
  • H. Teerlynck
  • M. Van Camp
  • D. Jongmans
  • T. Camelbeeck


To provide quantitative information on site effects in the northern part of Belgium, forty-seven H/V microtremor measurements were performed with 5 second seismometers over an area of about 15.000 km2. Most of the results show a northward regular increase of the fundamental period in agreement with the augmentation of the Mesozoic and Cainozoic soft sedimentsthickness from a few meters 40 km south of Brussels to 900 m at the Netherlands-Belgium border. The measured resonance frequency values wereconsistent with theoretical computations performed at different sites onthe basis of existing information and shallow seismic experiments. At oneparticular site (Uccle) where borehole data were available, microtremor measurements using an array of four seismological stations with differentapertures allowed to obtain the low frequency part of the Rayleigh wave dispersion curve, extending the range covered by the analysis of surfacewaves artificially generated. The Vs profile derived from the surface waveinversion corroborates the 1 Hz natural frequency of the site. Comparison of these results with the macroseismic information concerning the MS = 5.0 1938 earthquake which occurred 50 km west of Brussels,confirmed the hypothesis that the geological structure of the Brabant massifis likely to control damage distribution during such an earthquake. Comparisonbetween the intensity map of the 1938 earthquake and the resonance period ofsediments obtained by our microtremor study shows a clear relation betweenthe two parameters. During the 1938 earthquake, site effects played a prominent role due to the dimension of the source whose corner frequency wasabout 1 Hz.

1938 dispersion curve H/V microtremor Nakamura site effects surface waves inversion 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Nguyen
    • 1
  • G. Van Rompaey
    • 2
  • H. Teerlynck
    • 1
  • M. Van Camp
    • 2
  • D. Jongmans
    • 3
    • 1
  • T. Camelbeeck
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Engineering Geology and Applied GeophysicsLiège UniversityLiègeBelgium
  2. 2.Royal Observatory of BelgiumBruxellesBelgium
  3. 3.LIRIGM, Grenoble UniversityFrance

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