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P>Computing the magnitude of an earthquake requires correcting for the propagation effects from the source to the receivers. This is often accomplished by performing numerical simulations using a suitable Earth model. In this work, the energy magnitude M(e) is considered and its determination is performed using theoretical spectral amplitude decay functions over teleseismic distances based on the global Earth model AK135Q. Since the high frequency part (above the corner frequency) of the source spectrum has to be considered in computing M(e), the influence of propagation and site effects may not be negligible and they could bias the single station M(e) estimations. Therefore, in this study we assess the inter- and intrastation distributions of errors by considering the M(e) residuals computed for a large data set of earthquakes recorded at teleseismic distances by seismic stations deployed worldwide. To separate the inter- and intrastation contribution of errors, we apply a maximum likelihood approach to the M(e) residuals. We show that the interstation errors (describing a sort of site effect for a station) are within +/- 0.2 magnitude units for most stations and their spatial distribution reflects the expected lateral variation affecting the velocity and attenuation of the Earth's structure in the uppermost layers, not accounted for by the 1-D AK135Q model. The variance of the intrastation error distribution (describing the record-to-record component of variability) is larger than the interstation one (0.240 against 0.159), and the spatial distribution of the errors is not random but shows specific patterns depending on the source-to-station paths. The set of coefficients empirically determined may be used in the future to account for the heterogeneities of the real Earth not considered in the theoretical calculations of the spectral amplitude decay functions used to correct the recorded data for propagation effects.

Simulations of strong ground motion within the Santiago de Chile Metropolitan area were carried out by means of 3-D deterministic wave propagation tool based on the spectral element method. The simulated events take into account the pronounced interface between the low-velocity sedimentary basin and the bedrock as well as topography of the area. To verify our model we simulated a regional earthquake recorded by a dense network installed in the city of Santiago for recording aftershock activity after the 2010 February 27 Maule main shock. The results proof the alluvial basin amplification effects and show a strong dependence of spectral amplification in the basin on the local site conditions. Moreover, we studied the seismic response due to a hypothetical M(w) = 6.0 event occurring along the active San Ramon Fault, which is crossing the eastern edge of the city. The scenario earthquakes exhibit that an unfavourable interaction between fault rupture, radiation mechanism and complex geological and topographic conditions in the near-field region may give rise to large values of peak ground velocity in the basin. Finally, 3-D numerical predictions of ground motion are compared with the one computed according to ground motion prediction equations selected among the next generation attenuation relationships, in terms of ground motion peak values and spectral acceleration. The comparison underlines that the 3-D scenario simulations predict a significantly higher level of ground motion in the Santiago basin, especially over deep alluvial deposits. Moreover, also the location of the rupture nucleation largely influences the observed shaking pattern.

One of the key challenges in the context of local site effect studies is the determination of frequencies where the shakeability of the ground is enhanced. In this context, the H/V technique has become increasingly popular and peak frequencies of H/V spectral ratio are sometimes interpreted as resonance frequencies of the transmission response. In the present study, assuming that Rayleigh surface wave is dominant in H/V spectral ratio, we analyse theoretically under which conditions this may be justified and when not. We focus on 'layer over half-space' models which, although seemingly simple, capture many aspects of local site effects in real sedimentary structures. Our starting point is the ellipticity of Rayleigh waves. We use the exact formula of the H/V-ratio presented by Malischewsky & Scherbaum (2004) to investigate the main characteristics of peak and trough frequencies. We present a simple formula illustrating if and where H/V-ratio curves have sharp peaks in dependence of model parameters. In addition, we have constructed a map, which demonstrates the relation between the H/V-peak frequency and the peak frequency of the transmission response in the domain of the layer's Poisson ratio and the impedance contrast. Finally, we have derived maps showing the relationship between the H/V-peak and trough frequency and key parameters of the model such as impedance contrast. These maps are seen as diagnostic tools, which can help to guide the interpretation of H/V spectral ratio diagrams in the context of site effect studies.

Characterizing the local site response in large cities is an important step towards seismic hazard assessment. To this regard, single station seismic noise measurements were carried out at 146 sites in the northern part of Santiago de Chile. This extensive survey allowed the fundamental resonance frequency of the sedimentary cover, derived from horizontal-to-vertical (H/V) spectral ratios, to be mapped. By inverting the spectral ratios under the constraint of the thickness of the sedimentary cover, known from previous gravimetric measurements, local S-wave velocity profiles have been retrieved. After interpolation between the individual profiles, the resulting high resolution 3D S-wave velocity model allows the entire area, as well as deeper parts of the basin, to be represented in great detail. Since one lithology shows a great scatter in the velocity values only a very general correlation between S-wave velocity in the uppermost 30 m (v(s)(30)) and local geology is found. Local S-wave velocity profiles can serve as a key factor in seismic hazard assessment, since they allow an estimate of the amplification potential of the sedimentary cover. Mapping the intensity distribution of the 27 February 2010 Maule, Chile, event (Mw = 8.8) the results indicate that local amplification of the ground motion might partially explain the damage distribution and encourage the use of the low cost seismic noise techniques for the study of seismic site effects.