Seismic Site Effects from the Seafloor Motion Recorded by the Short-period Ocean Bottom Seismometers
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
For decades, it has been mentioned that submarine slope failures are spatially linked to the presence of gas hydrates/gas-charged sediments. When triggered by earthquakes, oversteepen and instable sediments may prompt breakouts of the slopes containing gas hydrates and cause submarine landslides and tsunamis. Widely distributed BSRs have been observed in the area offshore of southwestern Taiwan where the active accretionary complex meets with the passive China continental margin. In the region, large or small scale landslides were also reported based on seismic interpretations. In order to clarify the link between earthquake, landslide and the presence of gas hydrate, we evaluate the response of seafloor sediments in regard to passive dynamic loads. Horizontal-to-vertical (H/V) spectral ratios are used to characterize the local sediment response. Ambient noise as well as distant earthquakes are used as generators of the passive dynamic loads. Based on this study, we aim to characterize the site in terms of its physical properties and the local site effect produced by shallow marine sediments. The results show that the maximum H/V ratios appeared in the range of 5-10 Hz, where the horizontal amplitudes increased by an order of magnitude relative to the vertical amplitude. The stations located in the northwestern part of study area were characterized by another relatively small peak at proximately 2 Hz, which may indicates the presence of a discontinuity of sediments. For most stations, the H/V ratios estimated based on the earthquake (i.e. strong input signal) and noise (background, micro-seismic noise) records were characterized by different pattern. No distinct peak is observed for the H/V pattern calculated during earthquakes. This phenomenon may suggest that no clear sedimentary boundary exist when a stronger motion applies. Estimating H/V spectral ratios of data recorded by the seven short period OBSs (Ocean Bottom Seismometer) deployed in the southwest Taiwan offshore area in April 2014 offers a general understanding of the preferential vibration modes of soft sediment systems. By comparing the resonance characteristics of each sites and the gas hydrate distribution, we hope to provide precious information for the designing of marine structures such as oil drilling and production platforms.