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Comparison of 1D linear, equivalent-linear, and

nonlinear site response models at six KiK-net
validation sites


Impact Factor: 1.22 DOI: 10.1016/j.soildyn.2014.10.016


4 99


Laurie G. Baise Luis A Dorfmann

Tufts University Tufts University


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Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 69 (2015) 207219

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/soildyn

Comparison of 1D linear, equivalent-linear, and nonlinear site response

models at six KiK-net validation sites
James Kaklamanos n, Laurie G. Baise, Eric M. Thompson 1, Luis Dorfmann
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, 113 Anderson Hall, Medford, MA 02155, USA

art ic l e i nf o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Vertical seismometer arrays represent a unique interaction between observed and predicted ground
Received 30 September 2013 motions, and they are especially helpful for validating and comparing site response models. In this study,
Received in revised form we perform comprehensive linear, equivalent-linear, and nonlinear site response analyses of 191 ground
22 September 2014
motions recorded at six validation sites in the KibanKyoshin network (KiK-net) of vertical seismometer
Accepted 19 October 2014
arrays in Japan. These sites, which span a range of geologic conditions, are selected because they meet
the basic assumptions of one-dimensional (1D) wave propagation, and are therefore ideal for validating
Keywords: and calibrating 1D nonlinear soil models. We employ the equivalent-linear site response program
Earthquake ground motion SHAKE, the nonlinear site response program DEEPSOIL, and a nonlinear site response overlay model
Seismic analysis
within the general nite element program Abaqus/Explicit. Using the results from this broad range of
Seismic effects
ground motions, we quantify the uncertainties of the alternative site response models, measure the
Nonlinear soil behavior
Numerical modeling strain levels at which the models break down, and provide general recommendations for performing site
response analyses. Specically, we nd that at peak shear strains from 0.01% to 0.1%, linear site response
models fail to accurately predict short-period ground motions; equivalent-linear and nonlinear models
offer a signicant improvement at strains beyond this level, with nonlinear models exhibiting a slight
improvement over equivalent-linear models at strains greater than approximately 0.05%.
& 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction linear approximation becomes inadequate, and fully nonlinear site

response analyses are needed to accurately predict surface ground
A fundamental step in any seismic hazard analysis is the motions [513]. Fully nonlinear site response analyses are per-
quantication of the expected levels of ground motions for formed in the time-domain by integrating the equation of motion
potential earthquakes. Analytical site response analyses are per- in small time steps. Numerous nonlinear site response programs
formed by propagating an input motion through the soil prole in have been developed, although compared to equivalent-linear
order to predict the ground motion at the surface of a site. Site models, their usage in standard engineering practice is relatively
response analyses can also be performed empirically by using limited. Examples include D-MOD2000 [14], DEEPSOIL [15], TESS
seismic site coefcients such as those in the National Earthquake [16], SUMDES [17], OpenSees [18], and NOAHW [7].
Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP) seismic provisions [1]. For Given a range of model complexities (linear, equivalent-linear,
analytical site response analyses (the focus of this paper), the state and nonlinear) and specic site response codes, engineers would
of the practice in earthquake engineering is to approximate non- benet from increased insight to (a) the ranges of ground motions
linear soil behavior using equivalent-linear (EQL) site response over which each type of model is accurate, and (b) which site
models, such as SHAKE [24] or STRATA [5]. However, once the response codes offer the strongest goodness-of-t between pre-
shear strains in the soil exceed some critical level, the equivalent- dicted and observed ground motions. Vertical seismometer arrays,
which have both surface and downhole recordings are an excellent
opportunity for validating site response models. This study uses
n the KibanKyoshin (KiK-net) strong-motion network of vertical
Correspondence to: Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Merri-
mack College, 315 Turnpike Street, North Andover, MA 01845, USA. seismic arrays in Japan [19,20]. This data-rich network provides
Tel.: 1 978 837 3401; fax: 1 978 837 5029. numerous surfacedownhole station pairs that have recorded
E-mail addresses: KaklamanosJ@merrrimack.edu (J. Kaklamanos), many earthquakes with varying levels of ground motion. A
Laurie.Baise@tufts.edu (L.G. Baise), ethompson@mail.sdsu.edu (E.M. Thompson), number of studies have used downhole arrays such as KiK-net to
Luis.Dorfmann@tufts.edu (L. Dorfmann).
Present afliation: Department of Geological Sciences, San Diego State
quantify nonlinear soil behavior and site response model uncer-
University, 5500 Campanile Dr, 237 Geology Mathematics and Computer Science tainty. Assimaki et al. [9] developed a framework for quantifying
Building, San Diego, CA 92182. the susceptibility of nonlinear behavior using data from three

0267-7261/& 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
208 J. Kaklamanos et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 69 (2015) 207219

Table 1
Information on KiK-net stations used in this study.

Station name FKSH11 FKSH14 IWTH08 IWTH27 NMRH04 TKCH08

Latitude (deg) 37.1976 37.0233 40.2658 39.0278 43.3953 42.4847

Longitude (deg) 140.3420 140.9736 141.7867 141.5356 145.1264 143.1564
Avg. shear-wave velocity, VS30 (m/s) 240 237 305 670 168 353
NEHRP site class D D D C E D
Depth to bedrock, Zrock (m) 35 61 20 4 185 78
Install depth of downhole seismometer, Zmax (m) 115 147 100 100 216 100
Frequency of fundamental mode, fo (Hz) 1.20 1.20 2.80 6.23 0.40 1.80
Damping ratio for linear site response, (%) 2.86 2.50 2.00 5.00 1.67 2.50
Number of recorded events, nev 39 52 18 25 23 34

downhole array sites in southern California, and concluded that response program SHAKE, the nonlinear site response program
fully nonlinear analyses are necessary when the rock-outcrop DEEPSOIL, and a nonlinear site response overlay model within the
(input) peak ground acceleration (PGA) exceeds 0.2 g for soft general nite element program Abaqus/Explicit, introduced by Kak-
(NEHRP class E) sites. Kwok et al. [10] performed a blind site lamanos et al. [22]. Using the results from this broad range of ground
response prediction test at the Turkey Flat downhole array using motions, we quantify the prediction accuracies of the alternative site
data from the 2004 Mw 6.0 Parkeld, California, earthquake. They response models, and provide recommendations for modeling site
tested ve nonlinear site response models, and found that the response in engineering practice.
models underestimated the site response amplications at high
frequencies, and overestimated the site response amplications at
frequencies near the fundamental mode of the site [10]. Kim and 2. Data
Hashash [12] assessed KiK-net downhole array data from the 2011
Mw 9.0 Tohoku earthquake, and also found that equivalent-linear This study focuses on the six KiK-net sites detailed in Table 1. The
and nonlinear site response models underpredicted the site response raw site data available from the KiK-net website [23] are the seismic
amplications at high frequencies, especially at soft sites. They found velocity proles and geologic proles with soil/rock descriptions.
that the accuracies of equivalent-linear and nonlinear models were Table 1 includes basic information on the stations: the time-averaged
generally similar, but the predictions deviate when maximum shear shear-wave velocity over the top 30 m of the subsurface VS30, NEHRP
strains exceed  0.3%. Yee et al. [13] studied surfacedownhole site class [1], depth to rst rock layer Zrock, installed depth of the
ground motions from the 2007 Mw 6.6 Niigata-ken Chuetsu-oki downhole seismometer Zmax, frequency of the fundamental peak of
earthquake, and found that equivalent-linear and nonlinear models the 1D theoretical surfacedownhole transfer function fo, damping
offered similar predictions for maximum shear strains up to  0.2%, ratio used in the linear site response analysis [21], and number of
but that predictions deviated at greater strains. recorded events used in the analyses nev. Because we do not have
In prior work [11], we used the KiK-net database to analyze the site-specic estimates of , we choose a value of that provides the
accuracy (bias) and variability (precision) resulting from common site best t for the weak motions recorded at each site, as explained by
response modeling assumptions, and we identied critical parameters Thompson et al. [21]; at a given site, we assume a constant value of
that signicantly contribute to the uncertainty in site response for all layers in the prole. The shear-wave velocity (VS) proles for
analyses. We performed linear and equivalent-linear site response the six sites are provided in Fig. 1; the proles were obtained from
analyses at 100 KiK-net sites using 3720 ground motions ranging from surfacedownhole logging and are posted on the KiK-net website
weak to strong in amplitude, in particular, with 204 records having [23]. Fig. 2 displays the 1D theoretical amplication spectra H f
PGA40.3 g at the ground surface. The present work builds upon the computed using the ThomsonHaskell matrix method [24,25], which
study of Kaklamanos et al. [11] by adding nonlinear analyses and is coded in the program Nrattle included in the Boore [26] suite of
additional equivalent-linear analyses at a subset of 6 of the 100 KiK- ground motion simulation programs. Also shown are the 1D empiri-
net sites originally studied. The six sites were selected using the cal amplication spectra computed from the surface-to-downhole
methodology of Thompson et al. [21], which developed a classication ratios of the recorded weak motions at each site (having PGAo0.1 g).
scheme for downhole arrays that identies stations where the one- The six selected KiK-net sites span a range of geologic conditions
dimensional (1D) wave propagation assumption is valid. A station's and site classes. Stations FKSH11 and FKSH14 both have similar
classication is a function of (a) its inter-event variability and (b) the values of VS30 (240 m/s and 237 m/s, respectively), and therefore both
similarity between the empirical and 1D theoretical transfer functions fall into the NEHRP-D site category. Both stations are located in
(amplication spectra). Of the 100 KiK-net sites used by Thompson Fukushima prefecture (on east-central Honshu island) and recorded
et al. [21] and Kaklamanos et al. [11], 16 sites fall into the LG category, strong ground motions from the 2011/3/11 Mw 9.0 Tohoku earth-
having Low inter-event variability and Good t between the empirical quake. Station FKSH11 consists of 35 m of gravel over tuffaceous rock,
and theoretical transfer functions, and therefore are ideal for calibra- and includes a velocity inversion due to a layer of welded tuff at 35
tion and validation of 1D site response models. By selecting appro- 57 m depth. The shear-wave velocity prole at FKSH14 is slightly less
priate validation sites, confounding errors can be avoided, such as complex, consisting of 61 m of sand (mixed with gravel below 21 m),
calibrating a 1D site response model at locations signicantly affected overlying siltstone and sandstone. Stations IWTH08 and IWTH27 are
by three-dimensional (3D) effects [21]. both located in Iwate prefecture (on northeastern Honshu island).
In the present study, we perform linear, equivalent-linear, and Station IWTH08, a NEHRP class D site, consists of 83 m of weathered
nonlinear site response analyses of 191 ground motions recorded at granite over competent granite, and was also studied by Kaklamanos
six selected LG sites. This study focuses on 1D total stress site et al. [27] and Kaklamanos [28]. Due to the low VS values in the upper
response models, which are the most commonly used site response 20 m (VS r280 m/s), we assume that the upper 20 m is composed of
models in engineering practice. We employ the equivalent-linear site residual soil. Station IWTH27 (site class C) is the stiffest site explored
J. Kaklamanos et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 69 (2015) 207219 209

in this study, and consists of 4 m of granular ll overlying tuffaceous PGAVS30 distribution of the ground-motion records; individual
rock. IWTH27 is an interesting site because of its close proximity to histograms of these variables are shown in the margins of the
several major earthquakes, including the 2011 Tohoku event. Of the plots. More details on the set of 191 ground motions are available
191 ground motions used in this study (described in the following in Table S1 in the electronic supplement (Appendix) to this article.
paragraph), the three strongest ground motions in the dataset
occurred at IWTH27. Each of these three records have PGA40.75 g;
therefore, the shallow ll layer at IWTH27 may exhibit signicant 3. Methods
nonlinear response. Station NMRH04 (site class E), located in Nemuro
subprefecture on eastern Hokkaido island, is the softest and deepest 3.1. Linear and equivalent-linear site response models
site considered in this study. The site consists of a deep 185 m layer
of Quaternary soil (sand interbedded with sandy gravel) over The simplest linear and equivalent-linear site response models
interbedded layers of sandstone and siltstone. Station TKCH08 (site involve calculations in the frequency-domain; in this study, the
class D; near the CD boundary) is located in Tokachi subprefecture program SHAKE was used for all frequency-domain calculations.
on southern Hokkaido island, and consists of 78 m of Quaternary These models use the properties of the soil prole (density ,
sandy gravel over Cretaceous sandstone. shear-wave velocity VS, and damping ratio ) and the input motion
The ground motions used in this study represent the catalog of
recordings at the six stations from 2000 (when the rst of these
stations went online) through mid-2011. Fig. 3 illustrates a map of
the six stations and 154 earthquake epicenters used in this study,
which represent a wide range of sources and paths. Fig. 4 gives the

Fig. 1. Shear-wave velocity proles at the six KiK-net stations, arranged in order of Fig. 3. Map of the six KiK-net stations and 154 earthquake epicenters used in
increasing VS30. this study.

Fig. 2. Theoretical and empirical 1D linear amplication spectra (surfacedownhole transfer functions) for the six KiK-net stations, arranged in order of increasing VS30. The
median and 95% condence intervals of the empirical transfer functions are shown, as determined from the recorded weak (PGA o 0.1 g) motions at each site.
210 J. Kaklamanos et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 69 (2015) 207219

Fig. 4. Distributions of the geometric mean PGA versus VS30 for the 191 ground-
motion records used in this study. Histograms of the individual variables are shown
in the margins of the plots.

applied at the base of the prole (obtained from the downhole

recording at the KiK-net site) to predict the ground motion at the
surface. Linear site response analyses assume a strain-constant
shear modulus Gmax V 2S based on assumed small-strain soil
properties, and constant damping ratio . Linear site response
analyses can also be performed in the time domain; we performed
Fig. 5. Examples of equivalent-linear (a) modulus-reduction and (b) damping
linear time-domain site response analyses using DEEPSOIL and curves from Zhang et al. [29] and Darendeli [30] for the bottom of the 4-meter-
Abaqus to serve as the baseline for the fully nonlinear site thick surcial layer at site NMRH04, having VS 100 m/s and mean effective
response analyses performed using these programs (described in conning pressure ( m ) 76 kPa, The curves representing a linear site response
the next section). In the equivalent-linear formulation, the values analysis are also shown ( 1.67% for NMRH04).
of G and are iteratively adjusted to be consistent with the
effective level of shear strain in each soil layer; the converged [33]. In DEEPSOIL, the MRDF pressure-dependent hyperbolic
values are then used in the site response calculation. A number of model procedure [15] is used to obtain the tted nonlinear curves
modulus-reduction and damping relationships are available for from the Zhang et al. [29] modulus-reduction and damping curves.
use in engineering practice; in this study, we apply the Zhang et al. This procedure includes a reduction factor developed by Phillips
[29] and Darendeli [30] models to compare the effect of the and Hashash [34] that modies the extended Masing hysteretic
modulus-reduction and damping relationship on the performance behavior to match modulus-reduction and damping curves simul-
of an equivalent-linear method. In [11], we also used the Zhang taneously over a wide range of shear strains.
et al. [29] modulus-reduction and damping relationships, which The overlay model of Kaklamanos et al. [22] is a simple
require the mean effective conning pressure m , plasticity index methodology for modeling earthquake site response within a
PI, and geologic age (Quaternary, Tertiary, etc.) as input para- general nite element model (here, Abaqus/Explicit), and allows
meters. The Darendeli [30] relationships require m , PI, over- for a representation of any backbone stressstrain curve, along
consolidation ratio, loading frequency, and number of loading with hysteretic unloadingreloading (extended Masing) behavior
cycles. As an example, comparisons of the two models are [35]. To represent overlay elements in a nite element model, the
illustrated in Fig. 5 for the bottom of the 4-meter-thick surcial user denes a number of elements and assigns each of them
layer at NMRH04. Details on the selection of the input parameters identical node numbers and different shear moduli and yield
for the Zhang et al. [29] and Darendeli [30] models are available in stresses [22,36]. In this study, the backbone curves corresponding
the Appendix to this article. to the Zhang et al. [29] modulus reduction curves are used to
derive the shear moduli and yield stresses, using the equations of
3.2. Nonlinear site response models Kaklamanos et al. [22]. For each node, we use N 20 overlay
elements. The associated constitutive model is that of Iwan [37]
When performing fully nonlinear analyses in the time domain, and Mroz [38], which represents stressstrain behavior with a set
G and vary throughout the duration of loading. In this study, we of elastoplastic springs connected in parallel. The overlay model
compare the linear and equivalent-linear model predictions with for site response requires basic geotechnical data, can be imple-
two nonlinear 1D site response models: (1) the program DEEPSOIL mented in nearly any existing nite element code, and can be
[15]; and (2) a nonlinear overlay model introduced by Kaklamanos easily adapted to model more complex behavior (such as cyclic
et al. [22] within the nite element program Abaqus/Explicit [31]. hardening and softening, and 3D site response [39]), without the
In this study, the Zhang et al. [29] modulus-reduction and damp- specication of any complicated constitutive models.
ing curves are used as the target curves for the two nonlinear
programs. In both programs, a rigid boundary condition is 3.3. Model validation methods
employed at the base of the model because the input motion is
obtained from a downhole recording [8,28]. To quantify the goodness-of-t of the site response models, we
The constitutive model in DEEPSOIL is an extended version of compare the observed surface response spectra, PSAobs T, to the
the MKZ model developed by Matasovi and Vucetic [32], which predicted surface response spectra from the site response mod-
modied the original KZ model developed by Kondner and Zelasko el, PSApred T, where PSA is the 5%-damped pseudo-acceleration
J. Kaklamanos et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 69 (2015) 207219 211

response spectra as a function of spectral period T. We compute bias at the shortest periods. At periods greater than 0.1 s, the xed
the residual between the observed and predicted PSA values in effect becomes more erratic, especially at the periods correspond-
natural logarithmic space as ing to the fundamental peaks of the individual sites' 1D theoretical
  transfer functions. These periods are marked by vertical lines in
PSAresid T lnPSAobs T   ln PSApred T ; 1
Fig. 6, and they are usually characterized by troughs in the plot of
where the geometric mean is used to combine the two orthogonal model bias, indicating that the models are overpredicting the
horizontal components of recorded ground motion. Positive resi- response at the fundamental modes (also observed by Kwok et al.
duals indicate underpredictions, and negative residuals indicate [10]). In general, the 6-site results for the xed effect are similar to
overpredictions. those of the Zhang et al. [29] equivalent-linear model tested in
In order to obtain statistically signicant inferences about site Kaklamanos et al. [11] at 100 sites. The largest difference is that
response, we must account for the dependence between multiple the Kaklamanos et al. [11] results have smoother trends; the
recordings at a single site (i.e. repeatable site effects). Mixed- individual site inuences (at specic periods) tend to cancel each
effects regression [40] is a statistical procedure that allows for the other out when such a large number of sites are considered. In the
estimation of the repeatable biases and variances when the data aggregate, as observed in Fig. 6(a), most site response models tend
are grouped according to one or more classication factors; here, to underpredict short-period ground motions, perhaps due to
the data are grouped by site. The mixed-effects regression model breakdowns of the model assumptions, such as the assumed soil
incorporates both xed effects (parameters associated with an parameters, viscous damping, boundary conditions, and limita-
entire population or with certain repeatable levels of classication tions of the 1D model [11]. Similar results were observed by Kwok
factors, e.g., sites), and random effects (parameters associated with et al. [10] and Kim and Hashash [12], particularly for soft sites.
individual units drawn at random from the population). At a given Fig. 6(bd) characterize the variability of the model residuals.
spectral period T, the residuals are modeled by the mixed-effects The differences in the standard deviations between the linear,
regression equation equivalent-linear, and nonlinear site response models are not
signicant. All models exhibit increased variability at the spectral
PSAresid T i;j a Si i;j ; 2
periods corresponding to the fundamental peaks of the 1D theo-
where a is the population mean of PSAresid T (i.e., the xed effect), retical transfer functions at the six sites. Again, the Kaklamanos
which represents the average bias in the site response model et al. [11] 100-site trends are smoother than the 6-site trends of
across all sites and ground motions; Si is the inter-site residual this study. The intra-site standard deviations 0 are generally
(i.e. the between-site residual), which gives the deviation from the within the range of 0.20.3 natural log units, and are less erratic
population mean of the mean residual for the ith site; and i;j is the than the inter-site standard deviations S . The intra-site standard
intra-site residual (i.e. the within-site residual), which represents deviations for the 6-site results are not signicantly different than
the deviation for ground-motion observation j at site i from the the intra-site standard deviations for the 100-site results of
mean residual at site i. In other words, the intra-site residual i;j is Kaklamanos et al. [11]. Given that 0 represents the inherent
the residual after accounting for all repeatable effects: The inter- ground-motion variability once all repeatable effects are removed,
and intra-site residuals are normally distributed zero-mean ran- we would not expect a signicant difference between the two
dom variables with standard deviations S and 0 , respectively, to datasets. However, the inter-site standard deviations and the total
be determined by the regression. The three unknown parameters standard deviations are noticeably smaller for the 6-site dataset.
of the linear mixed-effects regression model in Eq. (2) are the xed Recall that the six selected sites in this study are classied as LG by
effect a, inter-site standard deviation S , and intra-site standard Thompson et al. [21], and therefore it is not surprising that values
deviation 0 (which represents the inherent ground-motion varia- of S (and thus Y ) in this study are smaller than those in the
bility; i.e. the variability after all repeatable effects have been broader dataset. Although only six sites have been considered in
removed). The site response model residuals Y PSAresid T have a this analysis, there are many recordings per site (Table 1), and so
q the usage of the inter-site residuals is reasonable. The limited
total standard deviation given by Y 20 2S . The mixed-effects
number of sites might, however, be an issue if we were making
regression parameters may be used to examine the bias and conclusions about trends with VS30, because there are a small
precision of site response models [11,41]. number of sites for a given range of VS30 values. Therefore, we
avoid drawing conclusions about trends in model residuals versus
4. Results
4.2. Analysis of intra-site model residuals: all sites
4.1. Bias and variability as a function of spectral period
Kaklamanos et al. [11] found that the maximum shear strain in
The period dependence of the bias and variability of the site the soil prole (max) is the best indicator of model accuracy, and
response models is analyzed in this section. In Fig. 6, we plot the that the observed peak ground acceleration at the ground surface
parameters of the linear mixed-effects regression model versus could be used as a proxy for strain. Therefore, we plot the model
spectral period (T), following Eq. (2) and the notation of Kaklamanos residuals against max, which was found to have the strongest
et al. [11]: (a) xed effect a, (b) total standard deviation Y , (c) intra- residual trends. In Fig. 7, we display plots of the 191 intra-site
site standard deviation 0 , and (d) inter-site standard deviation S . In residuals (i;j ) for PSA at a spectral period of T 0.1 s, versus max
addition to the results from the site response models tested at the six calculated from the site response analyses. The results are shown
sites in this study, the equivalent-linear results from the 100-site for each of the 191 ground motions using seven different site
Kaklamanos et al. [11] study are also plotted for comparison. response models: linear analyses in (a) SHAKE, (b) DEEPSOIL, and
The xed effects plotted in Fig. 6(a) allow us to characterize the (c) Abaqus; equivalent-linear analyses in SHAKE using the
model biases at different spectral periods. Fig. 6(a) indicates that modulus-reduction and damping curves of (d) Zhang et al. [29]
all site response models generally have positive bias (underpredic- and (e) Darendeli [30]; and nonlinear analyses in (f) DEEPSOIL and
tion of ground motions) at spectral periods less than 0.2 s. (g) Abaqus/Explicit.
However, the nonlinear site response model in Abaqus shows less As in Kaklamanos et al. [11], the linear site response models
bias than the other models, and this model notably has little to no (Fig. 7(ac)) are strongly biased at large strains: the residuals
212 J. Kaklamanos et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 69 (2015) 207219

Fig. 6. Period dependence of the parameters of the linear mixed effects regression model of Eq. (2): (a) xed effect a, (b) total standard deviation Y , (c) intra-site standard
deviation 0 , and (d) inter-site standard deviation S . In addition to the results from the different site response models tested at the six sites in this study, the equivalent-
linear results from the 100-site Kaklamanos et al. [11] study is also plotted for comparison. A vertical line is drawn at the period corresponding to the fundamental peak of
the 1D theoretical transfer function for each site (from left to right: IWTH27, IWTH08, TKCH08, FKSH11/FKSH14 [fundamental periods are equal], and NMRH04).

display a strong downward slope. Because linear models do not increase in the variability of the residuals for values of max greater
account for the deamplications associated with nonlinear beha- than approximately 0.05%. The increased variability in the resi-
vior, they characteristically overpredict large-strain motions. The duals represents a greater uncertainty associated with predicting
linear site response residuals begin to deviate from zero at large-strain ground motions.
approximately max 0.01%, consistent with the prior results for In addition to T 0.1 s, which is represented in Fig. 7, analogous
short periods. plots for PSA at additional spectral periods are displayed as Figs.
Fig. 7(dg) illustrate that the equivalent-linear and nonlinear S1S8 in the electronic supplement to this article. These plots
site response models generally offer more accurate predictions of show that the Darendeli [30] equivalent-linear model is extremely
large-strain ground motions. The equivalent-linear and nonlinear biased at large strains for spectral periods between 0.1 and 0.3 s.
site response residuals do not have a systematic bias, with the However, at larger spectral periods (beginning at 0.51.0 s), the
exception of the Darendeli [30] modulus-reduction and damping linear, equivalent-linear, and nonlinear site response models do
curves. The Darendeli [30] model residuals display an upward not display signicant biases at large strains. This nding is
slope for strains greater than 0.05%, meaning that the model is consistent with Kaklamanos et al. [11], in which we found that
underpredicting the large-strain ground motions. The plots of the site response residuals at spectral periods greater than 0.5 s do not
damping curves in Fig. 5 provide some insight into the Darendeli systematically display noticeable effects of nonlinear soil behavior.
[30] model: for a given level of shear strain40.01%, the Darendeli
damping ratio is generally larger than the Zhang et al. [29] model 4.3. Analysis of intra-site model residuals: separation by site
(except at very large strains not encountered in this study). When
compared to the observed ground motions in this study, the We now develop more site-specic conclusions by studying the
Darendeli [30] model seems to overdampand hence underpre- residual trends at each of the six sites individually. Fig. 8 displays
dictground motions for this level of shear strain. On the other the intra-site residuals (i;j ) versus max for PSA at T 0.1 s for
hand, at least for the levels of shear strain experienced in this the six sites, ordered by increasing VS30. Each panel displays the
study (up to 0.3%), the Zhang et al. [29] modulus-reduction and residuals for the linear site response model (from SHAKE),
damping curves do not seem to be associated with any systematic the equivalent-linear site response model (from SHAKE, using
bias. Therefore, the Zhang et al. [29] modulus reduction curves the Zhang et al. [29] model), and the nonlinear site response
were used to derive the backbone curves and material parameters model (from Abaqus).
for the nonlinear site response analyses in this study. In panels (d), In general, the differences between the equivalent-linear and
(f), and (g) of Fig. 7, no signicant differences between the nonlinear site response models are small with respect to the
equivalent-linear [29] residuals and the nonlinear residuals are differences between these models and the linear model. However,
noticed. Additional site- and record-specic plots (to be presented for the softest site (NMRH04) and stiffest site (IWTH27) explored
shortly) are necessary in order to decipher the differences in this study, the equivalent-linear and nonlinear residuals slope
between equivalent-linear and nonlinear site response models. upward for large-strain events, indicating an underprediction of
Although these residuals generally trend near zero, there is a slight ground motion. As summarized in the VS prole in Fig. 1 and
J. Kaklamanos et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 69 (2015) 207219 213

Fig. 7. Plots of the intra-site residuals (i;j ) for PSA at a spectral period of T 0.1 s, versus the maximum calculated shear strain in the soil prole (max). The results are shown
for each of the 191 ground motions using seven different site response models: linear analyses in (a) SHAKE, (b) DEEPSOIL, and (c) Abaqus; equivalent-linear analyses in
SHAKE using the modulus-reduction and damping curves of (d) Zhang et al. [29] and (e) Darendeli [30]; and nonlinear analyses in (f) DEEPSOIL and (g) Abaqus using
backbone curves derived from the Zhang et al. [29] model. Comparable plots for additional spectral periods (besides T 0.1 s) are presented as Figs. S1S8 in the electronic
supplement to this article.

explained in the Section 2, site IWTH27 consists of 4 m of granular display positive trends for the largest-strain events at intermediate
ll (VS 150 m/s) overlying tuffaceous rock (VS Z1100 m/s). Given sites FKSH11 and TKCH08, in addition to NMRH04 (as noted
the sharp impedance contrast, therefore virtually all of the non- previously). At T 0.2 s, the various model residuals at IWTH08
linear soil behavior must occur in the top 4 m. The effects of the and IWTH27 have leveled off, although the linear, equivalent-
resonances of trapped seismic waves within this shallow layer linear, and nonlinear model residuals at FKSH14 still display a
may also be difcult to predict; similar results were observed for strong downward trend. For longer spectral periods (up to 0.5 s),
the KiK-net shallow soil site MYGH11 studied in Baise et al. [42]. the model residuals for all sites are more or less constant with
Large amounts of nonlinearity in the soft surcial layers overlying max, although there is a slight downward trend remaining at
KiK-net rock sites have been also been documented by Assimaki FKSH14. The residual patterns at FKSH14 suggest that a greater-
et al. [43], Ghofrani et al. [44], and Rgnier et al. [45]. than-expected amount of nonlinearity is occurring at this site,
To extend the site-specic results beyond T 0.1 s (as shown in perhaps due to cyclic mobility in the loose saturated sand layer
Fig. 8), analogous plots for additional spectral periods are dis- near the ground surface.
played as Figs. S9S16 in the electronic supplement to this article.
The trends for PGA (Fig. S9) are similar to those for PSA at T 0.1 s 4.4. Detailed study of nonlinear ground motions
(Figs. 8 and S10). For PSA at T 0.2 s (Fig. S12), the linear residuals
do not display as strong of a negative trend as they do for shorter Further site-specic results are available in Figs. S17S31 in the
spectral periods, but the equivalent-linear and nonlinear residuals electronic supplement to this article, where detailed ground-motion
214 J. Kaklamanos et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 69 (2015) 207219

Fig. 8. Plots of the intra-site residuals (i;j ) for PSA at a spectral period of T 0.1 s, versus the maximum calculated shear strain in the soil prole (max). The residuals for the
six sites are displayed in panels (a)(f), respectively (ordered by increasing VS30). Each panel displays the residuals for the linear site response model (SHAKE), the equivalent-
linear site response model (SHAKE, using the Zhang et al. [29] modulus-reduction and damping curves), and the nonlinear site response model (Abaqus/Explicit).
Comparable plots for additional spectral periods (besides T 0.1 s) are presented as Figs. S9S16 in the electronic supplement to this article.

plots are presented for the 15 strongest ground motions consid- 1.2 Hz (or 0.83 s). The equivalent-linear and nonlinear site
ered in this study, as ranked by max in Table S1. The gures response analyses move the predicted peak downward closer to
include acceleration time series, stressstrain curves, response the observation, although these models are still overpredicting the
spectra, and amplication spectra from the various models. All six amplication. This overprediction could suggest interference with
sites are represented in this set of 15 gures, and each record has the downgoing wave (such as scattering due to subsurface
max Z 0:05% for both nonlinear models. Due to space limitations, heterogeneities), or perhaps an error in the KiK-net VS prole
we discuss only one strong ground motion in detail here (Fig. 9): (such as the inversion of the velocity prole for depths 3557 m).
the strongest event at station FKSH11, which is the 2011/3/11 Mw Nevertheless, the plots indicate that the equivalent-linear and
9.0 Tohoku earthquake (event no. 15 in Table S1; PGA 0.502 g, nonlinear models generally offer similar predictions. At high
max 0.294%). In Fig. 9, we present the (a) surface acceleration frequencies, however, as seen in panel (c), the equivalent-linear
time series, (b) stressstrain curves at the depth of maximum model notably underpredicts the ground motions for frequencies
shear strain, (c) surface/downhole amplication ratios, (d) surface greater than 8 Hz; the overdamping (underprediction) of high-
response spectra, and (e) surface response spectra residuals. frequency components of ground motion is a well-known problem
The different panels of Fig. 9 allow us to compare the model with equivalent-linear models that were also apparent in the
predictions for the Tohoku recording at station FKSH11. First, as results of Kaklamanos et al. [11]. This set of gures illustrates the
seen in panels (c)(e), the linear site response model most greatly importance of considering multiple factors when analyzing site
overpredicts the amplication at the fundamental mode near response models (e.g., response spectra, amplication spectra),
J. Kaklamanos et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 69 (2015) 207219 215

Fig. 9. Detailed results gure for the 2011/3/11 Mw 9.0 Tohoku event recorded at station FKSH11. Results are displayed for the linear site response model (SHAKE), the
equivalent-linear site response model (SHAKE, using the Zhang et al. [29] modulus-reduction and damping curves), and the nonlinear site response model (Abaqus/Explicit):
(a) observed and predicted surface acceleration time series centered in a 5 s window around the time of the absolute maximum acceleration (northsouth component);
(b) predicted stressstrain loops at 31.5 m, the depth corresponding to the maximum shear strain in the prole (northsouth component); (c) observed and predicted
surface/downhole amplication ratios; (d) observed and predicted surface response spectra (PSA); and (e) the corresponding PSA residuals (PSAresid). Panels (c)(e) use the
geometric mean to combine the two orthogonal horizontal components of recorded ground motion. Comparable plots for additional strong-motion events are presented as
Figs. S17S31 in the electronic supplement to this article.

and also the importance of considering the period dependence of models, computed by pooling the amplication spectra across all
the models' accuracies. 6 sites and 191 ground motions to arrive at a single value of r for
each model. The correlation coefcients are also computed using
4.5. Prediction accuracies of site response models subsets of the pooled amplication spectra corresponding to
records with max exceeding 0.01%, 0.02%, 0.05%, and 0.1%. The
In this section, we quantify the prediction accuracies of the trends in Table 3 are graphically displayed in Fig. 10. When all 191
linear, equivalent-linear, and nonlinear site response models ground motions are considered, all seven models have values of r
across all ground motions and sites. First, similar to Thompson in the 0.50.6 range. At rst, it may seem surprising that the
et al. [21], Pearson's correlation coefcient r is used to compare the benets of the equivalent-linear and nonlinear models are not
observed and predicted surface/downhole amplication spectra. apparent, but this is because goodness-of-t calculations in this
For each site, r is calculated using the pooled amplication spectra table are performed for all ground motions at each site, including
from all events, for n 200 logarithmically spaced frequencies small-strain motions. In time-domain analyses, one issue is that
between the rst and fourth peak of the site's theoretical linear 1D small-strain damping is often poorly constrained (for example,
transfer function (Fig. 2), which is the range of frequencies that when Rayleigh damping is used), although the novel frequency-
will likely dominate the seismic response at each site. Frequencies independent small-strain damping formulation in DEEPSOIL elim-
above 20 Hz are not included in the calculation of r, even if the inates the need to select Rayleigh damping coefcients [34].
fourth peak is at a greater frequency (this occurs at station Nonlinear analyses are also affected by the tting procedure of
IWTH27). The frequencies used in the calculations at each site the nonlinear curves from the target modulus-reduction and
are shown in Table 2, ordered by VS30. Also shown are the total damping curves.
number of records ntotal, and the number of records at each site The true benet of equivalent-linear and nonlinear site
surpassing various thresholds of max ( Z0.01%, Z0.02%, Z0.05%, response models is observed when the correlation coefcients
and Z0.1%). are computed using only the large-strain ground motions; clear
In Table 3, we present the correlation coefcients between the increases in r are observed when the model type is advanced from
observed and predicted amplication spectra for the site response linear, to equivalent-linear, and to nonlinear. Table 3 and Fig. 10
216 J. Kaklamanos et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 69 (2015) 207219

Table 2
Details of goodness-of-t calculations at each station.

Station name


Frequencies used in the goodness-of-t calculations:

Minimum frequency, fmin (Hz) 0.40 1.20 1.20 2.80 1.80 6.23
Maximum frequency, fmax (Hz) 2.34 6.19 6.07 11.59 9.77 20.00
Numbers of ground motions: Total
Total number of records, ntotal 23 52 39 18 34 25 191
Records with max Z 0:01% 21 20 15 5 10 9 80
Records with max Z 0:02% 10 11 7 2 5 7 42
Records with max Z 0:05% 3 4 2 1 1 4 15
Records with max Z 0:1% 1 1 2 1 1 3 9

Table 3
Correlation coefcients between observed and predicted amplication spectra: All sites combined.

Model Correlation coefcient, r

All records Records with max Z 0:01% Records with max Z 0:02% Records with max Z 0:05% Records with max Z 0:1%

Linear: Abaqus 0.544 0.533 0.534 0.524 0.519

Linear: DEEPSOIL 0.584 0.587 0.576 0.558 0.558
Linear: SHAKE 0.587 0.589 0.575 0.558 0.555
Equivalent-Linear (SHAKE):Darendeli [30] 0.571 0.553 0.521 0.575 0.599
Equivalent-Linear (SHAKE):Zhang et al. [29] 0.583 0.633 0.665 0.771 0.767
Nonlinear: DEEPSOIL 0.585 0.650 0.702 0.817 0.821
Nonlinear: Abaqus 0.545 0.631 0.699 0.831 0.818

For large-strain ground motions, the values of r for the linear

analyses remain in the 0.50.6 range, along with the value of r for
the equivalent-linear analyses using the Darendeli [30] curves. For
the two nonlinear models, as well as the equivalent-linear ana-
lyses performed using the Zhang et al. [29] curves, noticeable
improvements in the goodness-of-t are clear for the max Z0.01%
and max 40.02% thresholds. However, the most signicant bene-
ts of the more advanced models are manifested when max
exceeds 0.05%. For records with max Z 0.05%, the correlation
coefcient advances to 0.771 for the Zhang et al. [29] equivalent-
linear analyses, and further advances to 0.817 and 0.831 for the
nonlinear site response analyses in DEEPSOIL and Abaqus, respec-
tively. At these large-strain levels, the nonlinear models have a
slightly stronger predictive edge over the equivalent-linear
Fig. 10. Goodness-of-t between observed and predicted amplication spectra for
the site response models, computed by pooling the amplication spectra across all
sites and 191 ground motions, as well as by pooling the records meeting specic 5. Discussion
thresholds of max. The numbers in the legend correspond to the numbers of ground
motions in each category.
5.1. Accuracy as a function of maximum shear strain

In Kaklamanos et al. [11], we concluded that in terms of max,

the linear site response model begins to become inaccurate at
display a large difference between the Darendeli [30] and Zhang strains in the range of 0.010.1%. At shear strains greater than
et al. [29] models in terms of the equivalent-linear goodness-of-t. these values, and less than max E0.10.4%, the equivalent-linear
These results underscore the extreme inuence of the modulus- site response formulation improves the accuracy of site response
reduction and damping relationship on the accuracy of equivalent- predictions. In the present study, these conclusions are supported
linear analyses. One possible reason for the underperformance of using the results from additional linear and equivalent-linear site
the Darendeli [30] model is the larger number of input parameters response models, although the Darendeli [30] modulus-reduction
that are not well-constrained (such as overconsolidation ratio, and damping curves have noticeably lower goodness-of-t than
loading frequency, and equivalent number of cycles). Alternatively, the Zhang et al. [29] curves. Equivalent-linear and nonlinear site
the Zhang et al. [29] model may have a greater accuracy because response models perform similarly across most levels of ground
the model requires one input parameter that the Darendeli [30] motion (as noted, for example, by Kim and Hashash [12] and Yee
model does not contain: geologic age. The Zhang et al. [29] model et al. [13]), but Table 3 and Fig. 10 illustrate that the nonlinear site
specically accounts for Quaternary soil, which often comprises response models offer slight improvements over equivalent-linear
loose geologic material in which strong nonlinear behavior occurs. analyses for shear strains beyond 0.05%. The maximum shear
J. Kaklamanos et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 69 (2015) 207219 217

strain encountered in the present study is 0.3%; we therefore are ndings is that the differences in accuracy are largest between the
precluded from drawing conclusions about larger strain levels. linear model and the other models, and that there are relatively
small differences in accuracy between equivalent-linear and non-
5.2. Damping in nonlinear site response analyses linear site response models. The critical level of maximum shear
strain (max) at which the linear site response model breaks down
Nonlinear site response models have two types of damping: is 0.010.1% (generally corresponding to PGA E0.10.3 g), consis-
(a) hysteretic damping, which is associated with energy dissipa- tent with the results of Kaklamanos et al. [11]; similar trends were
tion within hysteresis loops, and (b) viscous (velocity-propor- observed in linear frequency-domain and linear time-domain site
tional) damping, which is associated with dashpots embedded response models. Beyond shear strains of approximately 0.01% (to
within the material elements. In a nonlinear analysis, there will be maximum strains of 0.3% considered in this study), equivalent-
nearly zero damping at small strains, because the backbone curve linear and nonlinear site response models both offer signicant
is nearly linear and there is very little width to the hysteresis loop. improvements over linear site response models, and nonlinear site
Many nonlinear site response codes (e.g., D-MOD2000 [14], response models are shown to exhibit a slight improvement over
DEEPSOIL [15], SUMDES [17], and OpenSees [19]) include viscous equivalent-linear site response models for shear strains greater
damping in order to maintain some level of damping at small than approximately 0.05%. It is important to note, however, that
strains. Although the true nature of soil damping at small strains is the performance of the equivalent-linear model is heavily depen-
not truly viscous, the assumption of viscous damping is a con- dent on the assumed modulus-reduction and damping relation-
venient representation for simulation purposes [8]. The programs ship, as are nonlinear models, which also depend on the assumed
NONLI3 [46,47], NERA [48], NOAHW [7], and the overlay nite target curves. Although fully nonlinear site response models
element model of Kaklamanos et al. [22], which are all based the represent an improvement over linear and equivalent-linear
Iwan [37] and Mroz [38] material model, include only hysteretic models, capturing nonlinear soil behavior is just one step towards
damping. The results of this paper show that the exclusion of improving predictions of complex site response behavior.
viscous damping may mitigate the issue of overdamping at large
strains. Fig. 6 indicates that the overlay model (which includes
only hysteretic damping) is less biased than DEEPSOIL (which Acknowledgments
includes both hysteretic and viscous damping) for short-period
ground motions; Table 3 and Fig. 10 show that this improvement is This research was supported under National Science Foundation
largely manifested at strains greater than 0.05%. Relative to (NSF) Grant no. 1000210; we gratefully acknowledge this support.
DEEPSOIL, the increased accuracy of the overlay model at large We are appreciative of two anonymous reviewers for their insightful
strains comes at a slight cost: decreased accuracy at small strains feedback that improved the quality of this manuscript. We also thank
(Table 3, Fig. 10), where viscous damping has the strongest benet. the following individuals for providing helpful feedback on an earlier
version of this manuscript: Dr. David M. Boore (U.S. Geological
5.3. Limitations of 1D total stress site response models Survey); and Drs. David M. Garman and Richard M. Vogel of Tufts
University. In addition, we would like to acknowledge the National
The site response models considered in this study all share a Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED)
common trait: they are 1D total stress analyses. Compounding for making the KiK-net strong-motion data and velocity proles
factors such as basin waves, path effects, soil heterogeneity, freely available.
nonvertical incidence, pore-pressure generation, and poorly con-
strained soil properties can greatly reduce the accuracies of 1D
total-stress site response models [41,49]. Accounting for these Appendix A. Determination of site response model parameters
compounding factors can help improve predictions of site
response, although the complexity of the site response model is In this appendix, we describe how the input parameters for the
increased in doing so. First, there is signicant uncertainty Zhang et al. [29] and Darendeli [30] models were selected. The
associated with the assumed 1D velocity proles at the KiK-net Zhang et al. [29] modulus-reduction and damping relationships
sites. Previous researchers, e.g., Assimaki et al. [50], have chosen to require the mean effective conning pressure m , plasticity index
vary the soil proles from the measured values to improve the t. PI, and geologic age (Quaternary, Tertiary and older, or residual/
Second, more complicated nonlinear constitutive models could be saprolite soil) as input parameters. The Darendeli [30] relation-
employed, but given the lack of nonlinear material data and pore- ships require m , PI, overconsolidation ratio, loading frequency,
pressure data at the KiK-net sites (and many sites in engineering and number of loading cycles. In the equivalent-linear analyses,
practice), we would induce additional uncertainty by using a more the models of Zhang et al. [29] or Darendeli [30] were used to
complicated constitutive model. represent the stressstrain response of the soil at depths above the
soil-bedrock interface (Zrock, given in Table 1). For the bedrock
layers below Zrock, and down to the maximum depth Zmax where
6. Conclusions the downhole ground motion is applied, we assumed linear
stressstrain behavior for all analyses (G/Gmax 1, with strain-
In this study, we performed linear, equivalent-linear, and non- independent damping).
linear site response analyses of 191 ground motions recorded at six The layer density required for all site response analyses was
selected sites. Because we focused on sites that are well-modeled determined from the P-wave velocity (VP) using the procedure of
by 1D wave propagation, the observed mist for strong motions Boore [51]. In order to compute the mean effective conning
can mostly be attributed to uncertainties in soil properties and the pressure m , we assumed the groundwater table is located where
constitutive model. Across all sites, ground motions, and intensity VP rst surpasses 1500 m/s; numerous studies [52-54] have found
levels, all models generally displayed positive bias (underpredic- that P-wave velocities of 10002000 m/s are characteristic of
tion of ground motions) at short spectral periods (o 0.2 s), saturated soil. The coefcient of at-rest lateral earth pressure
although the nonlinear site response analysis in Abaqus displayed (Ko) is required for the computation of the horizontal effective
lesser bias than the other models over this range of periods. From stresses from the vertical effective stresses. We computed Ko from
the analysis of the model residuals, one of the most consistent Poisson's ratio () using the theoretical relationship K o =1  ,
218 J. Kaklamanos et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 69 (2015) 207219

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