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Authors: Pischiutta, M.* 
Cultrera, G.* 
Caserta, A.* 
Luzi, L.* 
Rovelli, A.* 
Title: Topographic effects on the hill of Nocera Umbra, central Italy
Issue Date: 10-Jun-2010
Series/Report no.: 2/183(2010)
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04654.x
Keywords: Earthquake ground motion
Site effects
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.04. Ground motion 
Abstract: During the MW 5.7 and 6.0 Umbria–Marche earthquakes of 1997 September 26, the historical centre of Nocera Umbra suffered MCS intensity VII–VIII. The zone is located on the top of a hill, a condition potentially favourable to ground motion amplification. However, also vulnerability is higher on the hill because of the ancient age of buildings. A temporary array of eight seismological stations was installed across the hill to quantify the amplification effect due to topography.Waveforms of 14 aftershocks (2.6<ML <4.1) are selected for the analysis. During each earthquake the largest amplitudes are observed on the hilltop, spectral ratios are computed using rotated horizontal components to search for directional effects. Amplifications are found in two separate frequency bands: one in the range 2–4 Hz, where the increase of amplitude is moderate (never exceeding a factor of 4) and the polarization is transversal to the hill major axis; the second above 10 Hz, where amplifications are larger and reach values as high as 25 Hz. High-frequency polarization varies for different sites and frequencies suggesting that smaller-scale complexities control the high frequency response. Synthetic seismograms of 2-D models confirm the occurrence of amplification, although not all details are fit by numerical simulations and the agreement between observations and models is significant only in terms of the fundamental resonance frequency, around 3 Hz. In the models, amplifications are much smaller than the observed ones. We conclude that topography could have been responsible for a small increase of damage in the hill zone but the most significant role on damage was played by the locally higher vulnerability.
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