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International Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences IJBAS-IJENS Vol: 11 No: 04


Application of Microtremor HVSR Method for Assessing Site Effect in Residual Soil Slope
Dwa Desa Warnana, Ria Asih Aryani Soemitro, and Widya Utama

Abstract This paper investigates the local site effect of the earthquake induced slope instabilities using microtremor horizontal- to-vertical ratio (HVSR) method. It is accepted that soil effects (soil thickness and variation of surface soil parameter) and topographic effects namely local site effects, is considered having a significant effect on the seismic amplifications. However the understanding of seismic slope response is still limited. The research was carried out in a residual soil slope near Batu town, Malang DistrictIndonesia. The microtremor investigation had been conducted on 54 free-field measurements having 20 x 20 m dense grid. The HVSR analysis has been carried out using Geopsy Software. The predominant frequency (f0) ranges between 1 and 5.5 Hz and amplification factor (Am) varies from 2.5 to 10 though most of the areas having 4 to 5 Am value. The topographic patterns are identified by the fo value as related to bedrock depth. Variations of both parameters are indicated as a result of variations in surface soil parameters. Surface soil parameters are considered having more significant effect comparing to those of topographic effects. The vulnerability index (Kg) is indicated the soil damage level due to ground motions. The weak zone, failed during earthquake on the Southern slopes was identified by the highest Kg value. Index TermsSite effects, the predominant frequency, amplification factor, vulnerability index, microtremor HVSR, residual soil slope, Malang.

Dwa Desa Warnana is with Civil engineering department, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS), Surabaya, Indonesia. Formerly is Physics Department, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS), Surabaya, Indonesia- 6011. (E-mail: dwa_desa@ physiscs.its.ac.id). Ria Asih Aryani Soemitro is with Civil engineering department, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS), Surabaya, Indonesia - 6011. (E-mail: ria@ce.its.ac.id). Widya Utama is with Physics Department, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS), Surabaya, Indonesia- 6011. (E-mail: widya@physics.its.ac.id).

of topography on surface ground motion have been observed and studied from field experiments [1]. In last decade the microtremor method has been widely used for site effect studies (e.g. [2], [3], [4]). In fact, even though the knowledge on local site effects have been historically improved, the understanding of seismic slope response is still limited due to of the scarcity of ground motion recordings on landslide-prone slopes. Furthermore, numerical modeling of slope behavior under earthquake shaking is not easy because the acquisition of relevant geotechnical parameters of slope materials is difficult in sites characterized by rough topography and sharp lateral lithological and/or physical heterogeneities. The assessment of subsurface geology through borehole or active geophysical surveying is expensive and is typically limited to post-factum (post-failure) local scale investigations. Then, exploring the capability of microtremor is interesting as it is considered as cheaper and quicker geophysical. The present paper is attempted to investigate the local site effects of the earthquake induced slope instabilities in residual slope at site near Batu Town, malang District Indonesia (Figure 1). This site is located in the Southern part of Java Island, a region undergoing a recent increase in seismic activity. According to the seismic hazard map of java, Indonesia for a 475-year return period a design ground acceleration value for a rock site in site location ranges from 0.2 g to 0.25 g [5]. The Nakamura technique has been adopted for the microtremor measurements analysis (HVSR) (e.g. [6], [7]) to determine the predominant frequency (f0), amplification factor (Am). Reference [7] also proposed the vulnerability index Kg value (Kg = A2/F) as a means to determine the extent of seismic hazard. In this study, we determined the site characteristics of the slope area using the HVSR of microtremors and the Kg values to predict the potential for slope instabilities at the sites. . II. LOCATION AND GEOLOGICAL SETTING The research site is located on the hills of Tunggangan Mountain, Sumber berantas village, Batu Town, Malang District (S70 45 18.80 and E1120 31 45.83). The site is at a distance of approximately 15 km from Batu Town (Figure 1). The topography in the site is of moderately steep in the range 20-25o. The elevation ranges between 1650 m and 1730 m.

It is now well known that local site characteristics may produce large ground motion amplifications during earthquakes. This issue can be investigated by means of the analysis of actual seismic records and the study of synthetic seismogram as well. By last centurys middle years, effects of local soil and geological condition were studied mainly in terms of peak accelerations or peak velocities and the effects

118804-9393 IJBAS-IJENS August 2011 IJENS


International Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences IJBAS-IJENS Vol: 11 No: 04 Based on the Malang geological map, the location of site investigation is a part of Young Anjasmara volcanic sedimentary [8]. The rock units are dominated by the volcanic breccias, lava, tuff and lahars (Figure 2). The geotechnical investigation were drilling to 5 m depth. The drilling data indicated that the soil is brownish black and mainly consisted of sandy silt. Because no deep boreholes have been drilled at


site, the thickness of residual soil is completely unknown. Based on general geological knowledge of the area and the climate changes are intense with a predominance of chemical weathering over other process of weathering, thus resulting in deep weathering profiles and soil thickness often exceeding 30 m.

Fig. 1 Location map of study area

Fig 2. Simplified geological map of Batu town (Site area is shown by black box)

III. MICROTREMOR MEASUREMENT AND ANALYSIS Measurement microtremor data was conducted by 20 x 20 m in grid arround of slope area with the number of points are 55 points on August 2010 (Figure 3). For each point of

measurement 15 minutes of ambient noise were recorded at the sampling rate of 100 Hz. Their locations were carefully selected to avoid the influence of trees, sources of monochromatic noise and strong topographic features (edges of terraces). The data processing to obtain the HVSR at each site was performed in the following way: the data was filtered between 0.2 and 25 Hz by a band-pass 4 poles Butterworth filter after the mean and a linear trend were removed; then each component of the recorded signal was windowed in a time series of 20 sec length (cosine taper 5%) and for each time window an FFT was calculated and smoothed using the Konno and Ohmachi logarithmic window function. For each time window the spectral ratio between the root-mean square average spectrums of the horizontal components over the spectrum of the vertical component was calculated and, finally, the average HVSR and the standard deviation were computed. Overall HVSR analysis performed using GEOPSY Software [9]. HVSR analyses of 55 free-field microtremor measurements in the site showed that most of them (90%) fulfill the criteria defined by SESAME project (Table 1) for reliable measurements [10]. Three criteria for a reliable HVSR curve are based on the relation of a peak frequency to the window length, number of significant cycles and standard deviation of a peak amplitude. Six criteria for a clear peak are based on the relation of the peak amplitude to the level of the HVSR curve elsewhere, and standard deviations of the peak frequency and of its amplitude (the amplitude should decrease rapidly on IJENS

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International Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences IJBAS-IJENS Vol: 11 No: 04 each side). If all three criteria for reliable curve and at least five criteria for a clear peak are fulfilled, the frequency of the


peak is considered to be the fundamental frequency of sediments.

Fig. 3. Microtremor measurement layout


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International Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences IJBAS-IJENS Vol: 11 No: 04


IV. RESULTS AND INTERPRETATION A. Distribution of predominant frequency (f0) and Amplification factor (Am) Figure 4 shows the distribution of f0 where the distribution of predominant frequencies is relatively uniform, ranging from 1-5.5 Hz. The topographic patterrn is associated with the fo value. The residual soil thicknes (h) is possibly estimated using the formula f0 = Vs/4h, where Vs is shear wave velocity [11]. It could be noted that the f0 is associated with the the depth of bedrock. The smaler of f0 value, the greater of depth of bedrock.

Fig. 5. Distribution map of the Am value, a amplification factor of a site, at the 55 measured points.

Fig. 4. Distribution map of the fo value, a predominant frequency of a site, at the 55 measured points.

Figure 5 represents the amplification factor (Am) or peak ratio HVSR spectrum in investigation sites ranging from 2.5 to 10. High amplification factor (Am>4) was found almost all area and the highest amplification factor just found at a top of the hill (point B1). Distribution of the high amplification factor in whole area measurements showed that the topographic effect is not the only one factor controlling the amplification factor. Different value of Am might be found in the same value of the predominant frequency (Figure 6). No correlation between predominant frequency and its amplitude (Am) was established. It can be noted that the variation of Am value is not strongly effected by the soil depth. Reference [12] explained that the variation of soil parameters (shear modulus, damping ratio and density) influenced the amplification factor. Reference [13] explained that the influence of the saturation state of the bedrock is insignificant; a change of the saturation state of the soil layer may have a marked impact on the amplification factor. It can be clearly stated that the geological factors are more dominant to the Am variation.

Fig. 6. Peak ratio vs. predominant frequency graph of HVSR peak.

At present, using the Am as site amplification parameter is still a hot debate among the experts [14]. There is no ultimate correlation between the Am and the maximum spectral amplification of the site from strong motion. There might be some local relationships for a limited area and should only be regarded as a relative indicator of local site amplification since applied instruments or instrumental settings may also exert influence [11]. Reference [15] explained that amplitude/ amplification factor depends mainly on the impedance contrast and HVSR also does not provide any estimate of the actual bandwidth over which the ground motion is amplified. On the other hand, it is widely accepted in the scientific community that the predominant frequency (f0) reflects the fundamental frequency of the site [11], [16], [17], [6].

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International Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences IJBAS-IJENS Vol: 11 No: 04


B. Distribution of Soil vulnerability index (Kg) Reference [7] introduced a vulnerability index parameter (Kg), which combined Am and fo to identify areas where greater seismic hazards and damage may be expected using HVSR technique. Previous studies ([18], [19], [20]) had showed that distribution form of Kg; very well correspond with damage due to more recent earthquake. Thus, Kg value reflect local site effect and can be considered as an indicator which might be useful in selecting weak point of ground especially in slope areas. To estimate soil vulnerability index (Kg), the value of shear strain () need to be considered [14]. According to Ishihara [21] ground soil becomes plastic state at about 1000 x 10-6 ; and for > 10,000 x 10-6 catastrophic landslide or very large deformation will be occured. Reference [7] had outlined the formulation in detail, but in summary it can be written as follows: = (1)

in the site areas spread over the southern area. These zones were considered as weak zones which may fail during the earthquake.

In this equation, (Am)2/f0 is called soil vulnerability index (Kg), a is the ground acceleration and vb is the shear wave velocity of bedrock. Figure 7, shows the distribution of vulnerability index (kg) having values ranging from 2 to 32. Assuming a = 0.2 g and vb = 600 m/s, for >1000 x 10-6 then the kg value > 3; and for > 10,000 x 10-6 the kg value > 30. Based on the above criteria, for the value of Kg> 3 was found spread throughout research areas and for the value of Kg> 30 was found only at several points the southern hills. Reference [20] reported that Kg> 14 in Central Java was caused deformation of the soil and destroyed buildings on it. Thus, the higher Kg value (Kg> 14)

Fig. 7. Contour map of the Kg value, refer to (1), in the site areas. The higher Kg values appear in the southern area.

V. DISCUSION AND CONCLUSION Geotechnical investigation (boreholes, penetrometic tests, etc), local instrumentation placed in boreholes (piezometers, inclinometers) are generally employed for assessing site effect in slope instabilities. Even though these studies provide direct information on the slope material, except by multiplying the number of tests, these methods are not able to image the lateral variability of slope characteristics [22]. Microtremor investigations have proved to be an effective tool for assessment of site effects in the case of residual soil slope. In such conditions, the microtremor HVSR method is very useful for quantitative seismic microzonation and assessment of earthquake induced slope instabilities. At the same time, the costs of measurements and processing are kept low, because no active source is needed. Microtremor performed in residual soil slope at site near Batu town, showed that the predominant frequencies are concentrated at about 1- 5.5 Hz (Figure 4) and amplification factor varied from 2.5 -10 (Figure 5). An important remark should be noticed that the geological factors are more dominant rather than topographic effects to the Am variation. Based on the predominant frequencies and their amplification factors, one important parameter, Kg, could be

determined to assess the local site effects. In this study, the Kg values in the southern areas are higher than the northern areas, as indicated as weak zones which may fail during earthquake. Nevertheless, before more general conclusion can be made and to find out the origin of the difference between the southern and the northern area, microtremor modeling which inverts observed HVSR to find soil model should be performed, including analysis of their dynamic physical behavior.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT The authors are indebted to R. kiswanto, Irma Novalita, S.Si and Yedi Darmadi, S.Si for their help in field measurements. They also extended their gratitude to the Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysical Agency (BMKG) for providing the microtremor equipment. REFERENCES
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