Ground Motion Prediction Atop Geometrically Complex Sedimentary Basins - The Dead Sea Basin

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 8:45 AM
Michael Tsesarsky1,2, Shahar Shani-Kadmiel2,3, John N Louie4 and Zohar Gvirtzman3, (1)Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Structural Engineering, Beer Sheva, Israel, (2)Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Beer Sheva, Israel, (3)Geological Survey of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel, (4)Univ of Nevada, Reno, NV, United States
The Dead Sea Transform (DST) is the source for some of the largest earthquakes in the eastern Mediterranean. Several deep and structurally complex sedimentary basins are associated with the DST. These basins are up to 10 km deep and typically bounded by active fault zones.

The low seismicity of the DST combined with the limited instrumental coverage of the seismic network in the area result in a critical knowledge gap. Therefore, it is necessary to complement the limited instrumental data with synthetic data based on computational modeling, in order to study the effects of earthquake ground motion in these sedimentary basins.

We performed a 2D ground-motion analysis in the Dead Sea Basin (DSB) using a finite-difference code. Results indicate a complex pattern of ground motion amplification affected by the geometric features in the basin.

To distinguish between the individual contributions of each geometrical feature in the basin, we developed a semiquantitative decomposition approach. This approach enabled us to interpret the DSB results as follows: (1) Ground-motion amplification as a result of resonance occurs basin-wide due to a high impedance contrast at the base of the uppermost layer; (2) Steep faults generate a strong edge-effect that further ampli- fies ground motions; (3) Sub-basins cause geometrical focusing that may significantly amplify ground motions; and (4) Salt diapirs diverge seismic energy and cause a de- crease in ground-motion amplitude.

We address the significance of ground motion amplification due to geometrical focusing via an analytical and numerical study. We show that effective geometrical focusing occurs for a narrow set of eccentricities and velocity ratios, where seismic energy is converged to a region of ±0.5 km from surface. This mechanism leads to significant ground motion amplification at the center of the basin, up to a factor of 3; frequencies of the modeled spectrum are amplified up to the corner frequency of the source.