San Francisco Bay Area Arrays

Portable Seismograph Deployments to Research the Effects of Basins, Topography, and Fault Zones on Seismic Waves

Portable arrays of seismometers across the San Ramon,
Pleasanton, and Livermore Valleys.

Seismologists have observed that both topographic highs and basins have complex and varying effects on seismic waves. By deploying arrays of seismic recorders our understanding is improved of what specific features have what specific effects on the seismic waves. These studies use basins, ridges, and fault zones in the San Francisco Bay area as a laboratory to explore in greater detail what is happening as seismic waves propagate through them. The results can be used in similar urban areas throughout the world to estimate the expected shaking from both local and more distant earthquakes.

Seismic waves traveling through basins and topography are affected by:

The basic approach employed in these studies is to record seismic waves produced from both earthquakes and man-made sources such as explosions, and then to use several different mathematical methods and models to try to explain the observed levels of shaking. The portable seismographs are set up in different arrays in different locations in order to record various effects. Our studies are facilitated by using a combination of different analysis methods to reveal the wave type, direction, and speed of the important components of the ground motion. Both basins and topographic highs can trap seismic waves and cause them to be amplified. An understanding of these amplification effects is important for proper evaluation of seismic hazards in urban areas.

Download Report on The Effects of Basins, Topography, and Fault Zones on Seismic Waves: San Francisco Bay Area Portable Seismograph Deployments

See also:

Volunteer Monitoring - Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill/Concord, CA, Area Seismograph Array