Site response from ambient vibrations in the towns of Lod and Ramle (Israel) and earthquake hazard assessment

Y. Zaslavsky, A. Shapira, M. Gorstein, M. Kalmanovich, V. Giller, N. Perelman, I. Livshits, D. Giller, I. Dan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Throughout their long history, the towns of Lod and Ramle have been severely affected by strong earthquakes. The last destructive earthquake occurred on July 11, 1927 and caused the destruction of large parts of these cities, reaching a seismic intensity of VIII-IX on the MSK scale. Such a high intensity from a relatively distant earthquake (about 70 km) of magnitude 6.2 is likely to be the result of local site effects of the sedimentary layers that may have significantly enhanced earthquake ground motions. This study is focused on estimating the seismic hazard to Lod and Ramle by implementing a three-step process (1) detailed mapping of the characteristics of the H/V spectral ratios from ambient noise, (2) incorporating geological information and well data to construct subsurface models for different sites within the investigated area and (3) estimating the seismic hazard in terms of uniform hazard site-specific accelerations. The horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratios of ambient noise were used to approximate the fundamental resonance frequencies of the subsurface and their associated amplitudes. About 360 sites in Lod and Ramle were instrumented for varying periods. The soil sites exhibits H/V peak amplitudes ranging from 4 to 6 in the frequency range 0.5-2.5 Hz. These data were used to constrain 1-D subsurface models that were developed using geological data and borehole information. H/V spectral ratio observations were checked against theoretical subsurface transfer functions at locations where borehole information is available farther constraint the range of possible V s velocities of the different layers and thus, by means of trial an error it was possible to conclude a systematic spatial distribution of the V s velocity and thickness in the substrata that are also consistent with the spatial distribution of the fundamental resonance frequencies of the soft sediments obtained by means of the H/V spectral ratios, and other geological and geophysical information available at different locations in the study area. The evaluated subsurface models are introduced using the SEEH procedure of Shapira and van~Eck [(1993) Natural Hazards 8, 201-205] to assess Uniform Hazard Site-Specific Acceleration Spectra for different zones within the towns of Lod and Ramle. These evaluations are very important for realistic assessment of the vulnerabilities of all types of existing and newly designed structures and for urban and land use planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-381
Number of pages27
JournalBulletin of Earthquake Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Our thanks to the Ministry for Absorption and the Earth Sciences Research Administration of the Ministry for National Infrastructure for their financial support of this work. The study was conducted under Contract No. 20-17-029. We are most grateful to Dr V. Pinsky and L. Fleisher for fruitful discussions. The authors are very grateful to two anonymous referees for their useful comments.


  • Acceleration spectra
  • Ambient vibrations
  • Hazard assessment
  • Microzonation
  • Site amplification
  • Site response
  • Spectral ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geophysics


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