Seismic site classifications and site amplifications for the urban centres in the shallow overburden deposits
This paper presents seismic site classification practices for urban centres in Australia, China, and India with special emphasis on their suitability for shallow soil sites. The geotechnical aspects of seismic site classifications play a critical role in the development of site response spectra, which is the basis for the seismic design of new structures and seismic assessment of existing structures. Seismic site classifications have used weighted average shear wave velocity of top 30 m soil layers, following the recommendations of National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) or International Building Code (IBC) site classification system. The site classification system is based on the studies carried out in the United States where soil layer may extend up to several hundred meters before reaching any distinct soil-bedrock interface. Most of the urban centers in Australia, China, and India are located on distinct bedrocks within few meter depth of soil deposits. For such shallow depth soil sites, NEHRP or IBC site classification system is not suitable. A new site classification based on average soil thickness, shear wave velocity up to engineering bedrock is proposed. The study shows that spectral value and amplification ratio estimated from site response study considering top 30 m soil layers are different from those determined considering soil thickness up to engineering bedrock.