Simulations of ground motion in the Los Angeles basin based upon the spectral-element method

Dimitri Komatitsch, Qinya Liu, Jeroen Tromp, Peter Süss, Christiane Stidham, John H. Shaw

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366 Scopus citations


We use the spectral-element method to simulate ground motion generated by two recent and well-recorded small earthquakes in the Los Angeles basin. Simulations are performed using a new sedimentary basin model that is constrained by hundreds of petroleum-industry well logs and more than 20,000 km of seismic reflection profiles. The numerical simulations account for 3D variations of seismicwave speeds and density, topography and bathymetry, and attenuation. Simulations for the 9 September 2001 Mw 4.2 Hollywood earthquake and the 3 September 2002 Mw 4.2 Yorba Linda earthquake demonstrate that the combination of a detailed sedimentary basin model and an accurate numerical technique facilitates the simulation of ground motion at periods of 2 sec and longer inside the basin model and 6 sec and longer in the regional model. Peak ground displacement, velocity, and acceleration maps illustrate that significant amplification occurs in the basin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-206
Number of pages20
JournalBulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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