OSMS 96-04

"Interpretation of Significant Ground-Response and Structure Strong Motions Recorded during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake"

by A.F. Shakal, M.J. Huang and R.B. Darragh

Click on the link below for the full text:

Shakal, A.F., M.J. Huang and R.B. Darragh (1994). Interpretation of Significant Ground-Response and Structure Strong Motions Recorded during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol. 86, No. 1B, February 1996, p. S231-S246.

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Some of the largest accelerations and velocities ever recorded at ground-response and structural sites occurred during the Northridge earthquake. These motions are greater than most existing attenuation models would have predicted. Although the motions are large, the correspondence between measured acceleration and damage requires further study, since some sites with high acceleration experienced only moderate damage. Also, some peak vertical accelerations were larger than the horizontal, but in general, they are smaller and fit the pattern observed in previous earthquakes. Strong-motion records processed to date show significant differences in acceleration and velocity waveforms and amplitudes across the San Fernando Valley.

Analysis of processed data from several buildings in the San Fernando Valley indicates that short-period buildings such as shear-wall buildings experienced large forces and relatively low inter-story drift during the Northridge earthquake. However, long-period (1 to 5 sec) steel or concrete moment-frame buildings experienced large inter-story drift. For this earthquake, accelerations did not always amplify from base to roof for flexible structures like the moment-frame buildings, but the displacements were always larger at the roof. The drifts at many of the moment-frame buildings were larger than the drift limit for working stress design in the building code. The records from a base-isolated building indicate that high-frequency motion was reduced significantly by the isolators. The isolators deformed about 3.5 cm, which is much less than the design displacement. The records from a parking structure show important features of the seismic response of this class of structure.