Earth Planets Space, Vol. 63 (No. 7), pp. 791-795, 2011
Chunquan Wu and Zhigang Peng
School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332
(Received April 15, 2011; Revised June 7, 2011; Accepted June 8, 2011; Online published September 27, 2011)
The recent Mw 9.0 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake and its aftershocks generated widespread strong shakings as large as ∼3000 Gal along the east coast of Japan. Here we systematically analyze temporal changes of material properties and nonlinear site response in the shallow crust associated with the Tohoku main shock, using seismic data recorded by the Japanese Strong Motion Network KiK-Net. We compute the spectral ratios of windowed records from a pair of surface and borehole stations, and then use the sliding-window spectral ratios to track the temporal changes in the site response of various sites at different levels of peak ground acceleration (PGA). Our preliminary results show clear drop of resonant frequency of up to 70% during the Tohoku main shock at 6 sites with PGA from 600 to 1300 Gal. In the site MYGH04 where two distinct groups of strong ground motions were recorded, the resonant frequency briefly recovers in between, and then followed by an apparent logarithmic recovery. We investigate the percentage drop of peak frequency and peak spectral ratio during the Tohoku main shock at different PGA levels, and find that at most sites they are correlated.
Key words: Tohoku Earthquake, earthquake ground motion, site effects, wave propagation, soil nonlinearity, KiK-Net.