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Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411

Ambient vibration tests of a seven-story reinforced concrete building in

Van Nuys, California, damaged by the 1994 Northridge earthquake
S.S. Ivanovic a, M.D. Trifunac b,*, E.I. Novikova c, A.A. Gladkov c, M.I. Todorovska b
Civil Engineering Department, University of Montenegro, Podgorica 81000, Montenegro, Yugoslavia
Civil Engineering Department, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-2531, USA
Geopex Ltd, Raleigh, NC 27603-2343, USA
Accepted 11 May 2000

Results of two detailed ambient vibration surveys of a 7-story reinforced concrete building in Van Nuys, California, are presented. Both
surveys were conducted after the building was severely damaged by the 17 January 1994, Northridge earthquake ML 5:3; epicenter
1.5 km west from the building site) and its early aftershocks. The rst survey was conducted on 4 and 5 February 1994, and the second one on
19 and 20 April 1994, about one month after the 20 March aftershock ML 5:3; epicenter 1.2 km northwest from the building site). The
apparent frequencies and two- and three-dimensional mode shapes for longitudinal, transverse and vertical vibrations were calculated. The
attempts to detect the highly localized damage by simple spectral analyses of the ambient noise data were not successful. It is suggested that
very high spatial resolution of recording points is required to identify localized column and beam damage, due to the complex building
behavior, with many interacting structural components. The loss of the axial capacity of the damaged columns could be seen in the vertical
response of the columns, but similar moderate or weak damage typically would not be noticed in ambient vibration surveys. Previous analysis
of the recorded response of this building to 12 earthquakes suggests that, during large response of the foundation and piles, the soil is pushed
sideways and gaps form between the foundation and the soil. These gaps appear to be closing during dynamic compaction when the
building site is shaken by many small aftershocks. The apparent frequencies of the soilfoundationstructure system appear to be inuenced
signicantly by variations in the effective soilfoundation stiffness. These variations can be monitored by a sequence of specialized ambient
vibration tests. q 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Full-scale testing; Ambient vibration surveys; Ambient vibration testing; Northridge earthquake; Modal analysis; Earthquake damage

1. Introduction They can be used also to describe the linear behavior of

damaged structures and of their components, and can
The mathematical models used in dynamic analyses of guide researchers in developing time and amplitude depen-
structures are idealizations required to represent the dent structural models and analysis algorithms, to be used in
response of real structures to various dynamic loads (e.g. structural health monitoring and in structural control
strong earthquake shaking, strong winds, explosions etc.). studies. Therefore, further development of experimental
They can be veried by conducting experiments on full- methods for in situ measurement of full-scale partially
scale structures, e.g. ambient and forced vibration [1,2]. damaged structures is of great interest [36]. An advantage
Both of these can be used to identify the structural charac- of the ambient vibration over the forced vibration surveys is
teristics, e.g. the frequencies of vibration, damping ratios that they usually require light equipment and smaller
and mode shapes. While these experiments are to a great number of operators. The sources of excitation are
degree repeatable, measurements of the response to strong wind, micro-tremors, microseisms, and various local
earthquake shaking are not (large earthquakes occurring random and periodic sources (e.g. trafc or heavy
anywhere close to the structure are rare events compared machinery).
to its service time). The forced vibration tests may require large forces to
The ambient vibration tests describe the linear behavior produce useful (larger) response amplitudes of full-scale
of structures, since the amplitudes of vibration are small. structures. The force (a shaker) is usually located on top
of the building. This leads to more prominent excitation
* Corresponding author. Tel.: 11-213-7400570; fax: 11-213-744-1426. of the modes of vibration that have large amplitudes at the
E-mail address: (M.D. Trifunac). higher levels of the structures. However, the paths of waves
0267-7261/00/$ - see front matter q 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0267-726 1(00)00025-7
392 S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411

Fig. 1. General setting of the VN7SH building in Central San Fernando Valley. (a) Location of the building relative to the fault planes of the 1971 San
Fernando and 1994 Northridge earthquakes (their horizontal projections are shown by dashed lines), and the epicenters of two Northridge aftershocks (solid
stars) and other earthquakes with epicenters outside the map. (b) Location of the building relative to the distribution of red-tagged buildings (gray zones) and
reported breaks in the water pipes (solid dots) during the 1994 Northridge earthquake (after Ref. [43]).
S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411 393

Fig. 2. VN7SH building: (a) typical oor plan; (b) foundation plan; (c) typical transverse section; and (d) soil boring data from 7/17/1965.

propagating through the structure are different from those in interaction between soft soil and a stiff structure
case of ground shaking or wind excitation, and cautious immediately and long after an earthquake. Throughout the
interpretation of the results is required to take such differ- 1970s and the 1980s, ambient and forced vibration tests
ences into account [710]. were used to compare small amplitude (linear) with larger
In the US, ambient and forced vibration tests of structures amplitude response and to nd the pre- and post-earthquake
have been conducted for about 60 years. The US Coast and apparent frequencies of full-scale structures [18], and to
Geodetic Survey started measuring the fundamental periods identify the three-dimensional nature of deformations
of buildings by ambient vibrations tests in the early 1930s accompanying the apparent frequencies of response
[1,11]. Some 30 years later, Crawford and Ward [12], and [7,1921]. They were also used to resolve the contradictory
Ward and Crawford [13] revived the interest in this method interpretations of the signicance of the soilstructure inter-
and showed that it can be used to determine the lowest action and of the causes of nonlinearity (the soil or the
frequencies and modes of vibration of full-scale structures. structure) in observed response of buildings to strong earth-
Trifunac [14,15] used wind and micro-tremor induced quake excitation [810,22]. During the 1990s, ambient
vibrations to test a 22- and a 39-story steel frame building. vibration tests continued to contribute to in-depth studies of
Few years later, he compared the results of forced vibration the changes in structural properties [23] and towards further
experiments on the same two buildings with the results of development of structural identication methods [24].
ambient vibration surveys [16]. The results of both tests This paper describes two detailed ambient vibration
were consistent and comparable. Udwadia and Trifunac surveys of an instrumented 7-story RC building in Van
[17] presented results of ambient vibration tests of four Nuys, California. This building is interesting to study
buildings of different type (a 22-story steel frame building, because it was severely damaged by the Northridge earth-
a 39-story steel frame building, a 9-story steel frame build- quake of 17 January 1994 ML 6:4; R 1:5 km and its
ing and a 9-story reinforced concrete (RC) building), and aftershocks, and because its response to the Northridge
discussed the changes in the ambient vibration response earthquake, as well as to other earthquakes (Fig. 1), was
prior and after an earthquake. They analyzed the effects of recorded by permanent strong motion instrumentation.
394 S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411

Fig. 2. (continued).

The purpose of the surveys was to nd whether the damage of two Northridge aftershocks, and directions and epicentral
could be detected using established analysis procedures, and distances to seven other earthquakes recorded in the build-
to search for new procedures for damage detection in struc- ing [5,6]. Part (b) shows the distribution of damaged (red-
tures using the detailed ambient noise data from these tagged) buildings (the gray zones) [28] and reported breaks
experiments. A detailed survey of the damage was also in water pipes (the black dots) [29] in the valley caused by
conducted at the time these two tests took place, and has the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and the contours show
been published elsewhere [25]. We rst describe the build- areas with estimated peak horizontal ground velocity
ing and the two ambient vibration surveys, and then present vm . 150 cm/s, drawn after Trifunac and Todorovska [30].
the results of the two surveys. At the end, we discuss the Their interpretation is that, except within the vm . 150 cm/s
results and draw general conclusions within the context of contours, the ground within the gray zones responded essen-
all the analyses of this building completed to this date. tially linearly, and within the white zones (where many pipe
breaks occurred) it responded nonlinearly. The VN7SH site
is on the border between the gray and white zones.
2. Description of the building The ground motion from the 1994 Northridge earthquake
in the area surrounding the building had relatively small
2.1. Location horizontal transient peak accelerations, a, velocities, v,
and displacements, d aR 2350 cm=s2 ; aT 225 cm=s2 ;
The 7-story RC hotel building analyzed in this paper aV 600 cm=s2 ; vR 240 cm=s; vT 30 cm=s; vV
(VN7SH in short) is located in the city of Van Nuys of 225 cm=s; dR 214 cm; dT 25 cm; dV 27 cm;
the Los Angeles metropolitan area (at 34.2218N and subscripts R, T and V refer to radial, transverse and vertical
118.4718W, in central San Fernando Valley, NW from components, dened relative to point 34.278N and
downtown Los Angeles). Fig. 1 shows San Fernando Valley 118.558W in the center of the ruptured area, see Fig. 1a,
and the building location relative to the major freeways. Part and positive if away from the fault, clockwise and upward)
(a) also shows the horizontal projections of the fault planes [3133]. In the vicinity of the building, the peak strain
of 1971 San Fernando and 1994 Northridge earthquakes factor was: horizontal ,10 22.6 and vertical ,10 23.2
[26,27] both of which damaged the building, the epicenters [29,34]. The (rened) estimate of Modied Mercalli
S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411 395

Fig. 3. Schematic representation of damage: (top frame D (North view), and (bottom) frame A (south view). The sensor locations for channels 18 and 13 of
strong motion recorders (oriented towards North), are also shown (see Refs. [5,6]).

intensity at the site was VIII [29,35]. The site is located on centers in the longitudinal direction. Spandrel beams
undifferentiated Holocene alluvium, uncemented and surround the perimeter of the structure. Lateral forces in
unconsolidated, with thickness ,30 m, and age each direction are resisted by interior column-slab frames
,10,000 years [30]. The average shear wave velocity in and exterior column spandrel beam frames. The added stiff-
the top 30 m of soil is 300 m/s. ness in the exterior frames associated with the spandrel
beams creates exterior frames that are roughly twice as
2.2. Design and site characteristics stiff as interior frames. With the exception of some light
framing members supporting the stairway and elevator
The VN7SH was designed in 1965, constructed in 1966 openings, the structure is essentially symmetric. Except
[3638], and served as a hotel at the time of the 1994 North- for two small areas at the ground oor, covered by 1-story
ridge earthquake. Fig. 2 shows: (a) a plan view of a typical canopies, the plan congurations of each oor, including the
oor; (b) a plan view of the foundation layout; (c) a side roof, are the same. The oor system is RC at slab, 10 in.
view of the building frame; and (d) a typical soil-boring log thick at the second oor, 8.5 in. thick at the third to seventh
data at the building site. The building is 62 150 ft in plan oors and 8 in. thick at the roof. The north side of the
(1 ft 30.48 cm). The typical framing consists of columns building, along column line D (Fig. 2a), has four bays of
spaced at 20 ft centers in the transverse direction and 19 ft brick masonry walls located between the ground and the
396 S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411

Fig. 4. Experiment I: position of the instruments along frame C.

second oor at the East end of the structure. Nominal 1 in. exterior north (D) and south (A) frames, designed to take
expansion joints separate the walls from the underside of the most of the lateral load in the longitudinal direction. Severe
second oor spandrel beams. Although none of the wall shear cracks occurred at the middle columns of frame A,
elements described are designed as a part of the lateral near the contact with the spandrel beam of the fth oor
force-resisting system, they do contribute in varying degrees (Fig. 3). Those cracks signicantly decreased the axial,
to the stiffness of the structure moment, and shear capacity of the columns. The shear
The building is situated on recent alluvium. The soil- cracks which appeared in the north (D) frame on the third
boring log in Fig. 2d shows that the underlying soil consists and fourth oors, and the damage of columns D2, D3 and
primarily of ne sandy silts and silty ne sands. The foun- D4 on the rst oor caused minor to moderate changes in
dation system (Fig. 2b) consists of 38 in. deep pile caps, the capacity of these structural elements. No major damage
supported by groups of two to four poured-in-place 24 in. of the interior longitudinal (B and C) frames was noticed.
diameter RC friction piles. These are centered under the There was no visible damage in the slabs and around the
main building columns. All the pile caps are connected by foundation. The nonstructural damage was signicant.
a grid of beams. Each pile is roughly 40 ft long and has Almost every guestroom suffered considerable damage.
design capacity of over 100 kips vertical load and up to Severe cracks were noticed in the masonry brick walls,
20 kips lateral load (1 kip 4448.2 N). The structure is and in the exterior cement plaster. The recorded peak accel-
constructed of regular weight RC [36]. erations in the building were: 0.46g (L), 0.40g (T) and 0.28g
(V) at the base, and 0.59g (L) and 0.58g (T) at the roof,
2.3. Earthquake damage along the longitudinal (L), transverse (T) and vertical (V)
axes of symmetry (there were no sensors installed on the
The ML 6:6 San Fernando earthquake of 9 February 1971 roof to measure vertical motions).
(Fig. 1a) [26] caused minor structural damage [36]. Epoxy was Photographs and detailed description of the damage from
used to repair spalled concrete of the second oor beam the Northridge earthquake can be found in Ref. [25], and an
column joints on the North side and East end of the building. analysis of the relationship between the observed damage
The nonstructural damage, however, was extensive and about and the change in equivalent vertical shear wave velocity in
80 percent of all repair cost was used on xing the drywall the building can be found in Ref. [3]. A discussion on the
partitions, bathroom tiles and on plumbing xtures. The extent to which this damage has contributed to the changes
recorded peak accelerations in the building were: 0.13g (L), in the apparent period of the soilstructure system can be
0.24g (T) and 0.18g (V) at the base, and 0.32g (L), 0.39g (T) found in Refs. [5,6].
and 0.22g (V) at the roof, along the longitudinal (L), transverse
(T) and vertical (V) axes of symmetry.
The ML 6:4 Northridge earthquake of 17 January 1994 3. Description of the experiments and data processing
(Fig. 1a) [27] severely damaged the building, and it was methods
declared as unsafe and red-tagged by the Los Angeles Hous-
ing Authorities. The structural damage was extensive in the Two ambient vibration surveys were conducted, both
S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411 397

Fig. 5. Experiment I: position of instruments on the ground oor.

while the building was damaged from the 1994 Northridge 3.2. Instrumentation layout
earthquake and its aftershocks, and was not in use. The
structural damage was extensive in the exterior longitudinal 3.2.1. Experiment I
North (D) and South (A) frames (Figs. 2a, c and 3), and the Fig. 4 shows the location of the measuring points along a
changes of stiffness in the damaged areas implied changes in longitudinal cross-section of the building. The measuring
the structural system. The rst experiment took place on 4 points were along longitudinal frame C, at all nine columns,
5 February 1994, approximately two and a half weeks and on each oor. The order in which the measurements
following the Northridge main event of 17 January. The were carried out was from top to bottom and from East to
second experiment was on 1920 April, 1994, three months West (A1, A2, A3; B1, B2, B3; up to Y1, Y2, Y3, as
following the Northridge main event, and one month shown in Fig. 4). We will refer in this paper to the location
following one of the larger aftershocks (20 March of a measuring point in the building by the one letter code
1994, M 5:2: The damage observed at the time of for the longitudinal frame and the one digit code for the
each of the experiments was photographed and docu- transverse frame to which the column closest to the trans-
mented [25]. ducer belongs. It was impossible to position instruments
near column C9 on all the oors because the bathtubs
3.1. Measuring equipment were located next to this column, and all measurements
related to location C9 were actually recorded about
A PC based data acquisition system and six transdu- 0.7 m to the West. Unfortunately, the instrument at
cers were used: four Ranger SS-1 and two old Earth column C4 on the roof was not working while EW
Sciences Ranger seismometers. This equipment is motion was recorded. This omission was discovered
described in detail in Ref. [39]. For both experiments, during the analysis of the recorded data, too late to
measurements were taken along longitudinal frame C, at repeat the measurement.
all the nine columns, on each oor, and in three direc- Three reference points were used, all at the ground oor,
tions of motion: longitudinal (EW), transverse (NS) marked by R in Fig. 5. For the vertical motions, two of the
and vertical. Three of the Ranger SS-1 seismometers old Earth Sciences Ranger seismometers were used [39].
were used to measure the building response, and two These were placed near columns A2 and D2 on the ground
of the old Earth Sciences Ranger seismometers and oor and were oriented always to measure vertical response.
the fourth Ranger SS-1 seismometers were used to As reference instrument for all the horizontal recordings, a
measure the motions at the reference sites on the ground Ranger SS-1 seismometer was used, located at transverse
oor. For each experiment, two calibration tests were frame 2, between longitudinal frames B and C, also on the
conducted (one at the beginning and the other one at ground oor, and oriented towards West or towards North.
the end of the experiment), for two horizontal and for The rst calibration test (at the beginning of the experi-
vertical position of the transducers. These tests consisted ment) was done on the SW stairway, at the fth oor, and
of placing all the six instruments close to each other, and the second one (at the and of the experiment) on the ground
simultaneously recording. The purpose of these tests was oor, between transverse frames 1 and 2 and longitudinal
relative comparison of the recorded amplitudes, which frames B and C. Both calibration tests gave consistent
differed due to differences in sensitivity and instrument values of the sensitivity ratios [39].
constants. The duration of each of the recordings was The PC based data acquisition system was located on the
about 3 min, and the sampling rate was set to fth oor. The transducers were placed either directly on the
400 points/s. concrete, or on the ceramic tiles (carpets and other oor
398 S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411

Fig. 6. Schematic representation of the structure and location of damage and of wooden braces as seen at the time of Experiment II (19 April 1994).

covers were removed during measurement). The motion continuously. The elevators were not in use. There was no
was recorded for about 3 min, at sampling rate running water in the building, but electricity was on.
400 points/s.
The experiment was carried out continuously from the 3.2.2. Experiment II
morning of 4 February until the morning of 5 February This experiment was carried out on Tuesday and Wednes-
1994. During this time, strong wind (about 50 km/hour) day, 19 and 20 April 1994, three months after the 17 Janu-
was blowing intermittently. The temperature was in the ary, Northridge California Earthquake, and one month after
range from 8 to 158C. It was raining the night before, and a strong aftershock with epicenter at 1 km from the building
the rain stopped at about 6:00 a.m. on 4 February. It was a (20 March 1994, M 5:2; Fig. 1a). The building was
week-day (Friday), and typical heavy trafc was moving restrained between the two experiments. Wooden braces
along the San Diego Freeway (I-405), 100200 m to the were installed to increase the structural capacity near the
West from the building site (see Fig. 1). At the roof of the areas of structural damage (Fig. 6). Braces were placed in
building, the air-conditioning equipment was working the rst three or four stories at selected spans in the exterior

Fig. 7. Experiment II: position of instruments along frame C.

S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411 399

Fig. 8. Experiment II: position of instruments on: (a) third; (b) fth; and (c) seventh oors.

Fig. 9. Experiment II: position of instruments on the ground oor.

400 S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411

directions (north, east, and up) at 46 points surrounding the

building, within 1520 m around the structure. A detailed
description of this part of the experiment and analysis of the
recorded amplitudes and phases can be found in Ref. [40]
and will not be repeated here.
The rst calibration test (at the beginning of the experi-
ment) was performed on the seventh oor, at the northwest
corner of the structure, near column D1. The second test (at
the end of the experiment) was performed on the ground
oor, between longitudinal frames B and C and transverse
frames 1 and 2.
The PC based data acquisition system was located on the
ground oor. The transducers were also placed either
directly on the concrete, ceramic tiles, or onto the asphalt
for the outside measurements. Motion was recorded for
about 3 min, at a sampling rate of 400 points/s.
The experiment was carried out continuously from noon
of 19 April (Tuesday), until 9 p.m., on 20 April (Wednes-
day) 1994. Those were quiet, sunny days with temperature
Fig. 10. Sample transfer-functions: (a) west motion recording at fth oor, in the range from 12 to 258C. The building was not in use,
column C5; and (b) north motion recording at fth oor, column C9.
and except for electricity, facilities were not available (no
elevators, air-conditioning, or running water).
longitudinal frames (A and D). Only the rst oor of the
interior longitudinal frames was restrained. We do not know 3.3. Data processing methods
when the addition of the braces was completed, and whether
this preceded the aftershock on 20 March. However, we did The data processing procedure described in Ref. [39]was
observe that the width of the cracks, especially the shear followed. Briey, rst, Fourier spectra were computed for
cracks in the south (A) frame, became larger (relative to our each record by FFT (following amplitude correction from
rst inspection on February 4). No new structural damage the calibration tests), and then the transfer-function ampli-
was noticed in the building or around its foundation. There tudes were computed for each measuring point and compo-
were no braces added to the transverse frames. Fig. 6 shows nent of motion, with respect to the appropriate reference
the location of structural damage and the braces as observed point on the ground oor. The Fourier amplitude spectra
on 19 April 1994. The size of the hinges is proportional to were smoothed before the division (with Rs 2 for hori-
the level of damage. zontal and Rs 5 for vertical motions; [39]). Fig. 10 shows
Fig. 7 shows the location of the measuring points along a typical transfer-functions (longitudinal and transverse
vertical cross-section of the building (along longitudinal motions recorded at columns C5 and C9, on the fth oor;
frame C). As in Experiment I, the order of the measurements see Fig. 2a).
was from top to bottom and from East to West (A1, A2, A3; The transfer-function amplitudes were not smoothed.
B1, B2, B3; Y1, Y2, Y3), and the measurements at The phase angles for the transfer-functions were also
column 9 were made at a point about 0.7 m West from the computed. In drawing the apparent shape-functions, the
ideal location. The motions on the ground oor were also phase angle was approximated by 0 or by p. To determine
measured in detail. The measuring points were at each the shape functions, in some cases, phase lags were also
column, and all three components of motion were recorded. computed for neighboring measurement points, via the
At the third, fth and seventh oors, measurements in verti- cross-correlation function of band-pass ltered data
cal direction were carried out along transverse frames 2, 5 (0.2 Hz band-width) centered at the modal frequencies.
and 8 (see Fig. 8). Cross-correlation functions were also used to check
The location of the three reference points on the ground selected amplitudes of the response. This method was
oor is marked by R in Fig. 9. The two Earth Sciences particularly useful for analyses of the recordings at points
Ranger seismometers were placed at locations A5 and D5, C1 and C9. In addition to the previously identied natural
and always recorded vertical motions (up). The reference frequencies, the Fourier amplitude spectra of these record-
point for horizontal motions was at the location B2 and was ings displayed additional peaks, which we believe were
oriented along the longitudinal (EW) or transverse (NS) due to electrical motors operating on the western end of
directions. the roof. These peaks were close to the peaks associated
As part of this experiment, detailed measurements of with the natural frequencies of the structure, and caused
ambient noise in the parking lot surrounding the building difculties in the computation and interpretation of the
were also carried out. Motions were recorded in all three transfer-functions.
S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411 401

Fig. 11. Experiment I: longitudinal (EW) apparent modes of vibration: (a) rst, f 1:0 Hz; (b) second, f 3:5 Hz; (c) third, f 5:7 Hz; and (d) fourth,
f 8:1 Hz:

Fig. 12. Experiment I: transverse (NS) apparent modes of vibration: (a) rst transverse, f 1:4 Hz; (b) rst torsional, f 1:6 Hz; (c) second transverse,
f 3:9 Hz; and (d) second torsional, f 4:9 Hz:
402 S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411

Fig. 13. Experiment II: longitudinal (EW) apparent modes of vibration: (a) rst, f 1:1 Hz; (b) second,f 3:7 Hz; (c) third, f 5:7 Hz : and (d) fourth,
f 8:5 Hz:

4. Results 4.1. Identied system frequencies and mode-shapes

In this paper, we present the system frequencies deter- From Experiment I measurements, for longitudinal (E
mined from the ambient noise data, and selected plots of W) vibrations, system frequencies f 1.0, 3.5, 5.7 and
normalized building displacements at these frequencies. 8.1 Hz were identied. The corresponding normalized
Tables with the numerical values of these displacements mode-shapes (to unit maximum amplitude) are shown in
and a complete set of displacement plots can be found in Fig. 11. For the rst three, the signals were very clear in
Ref. [4]. all EW recordings, and for the fourth there were difcul-
Only system frequencies corresponding to the rst ties in dening the phase of motion (due to small signal-to-
four longitudinal and to the rst four transverse modes noise ratio). For transverse (NS) vibrations, the identied
of vibration could be identied from the transfer-func- system frequencies were f 1.4, 1.6, 3.9 and 4.9 Hz. The
tions of recorded horizontal motions (the signal-to-noise corresponding mode-shapes are plotted in Fig. 12. Frequen-
ratio was small for frequencies higher than those). No cies f 1.4 and 3.9 Hz correspond to translational modes,
vertical modes of vibration could be identied from the and f 1.6 and 4.9 Hz correspond to torsional modes. The
transfer-functions of recorded vertical motions. In the latter could also be identied from the records of longitu-
following, we show normalized mode-shapes corre- dinal vibrations. Fig. 12 however, shows only the transverse
sponding to the identied longitudinal, transverse and components of the displacements of the torsional modes.
torsional modes of vibration. We also show, for the For the rst torsional mode, it was difcult to determine
rst torsional mode, two-dimensional displacements in the phase lags in the transverse recordings at locations C4
the plane of each oor, and, for the rst transverse and C6, due to the small signal to noise ratio. The centers
mode, two-dimensional displacements in the plane of of rotation (points near column 5, where the transverse
three transverse building cross-sections. response changes phase) were determined from the phase
We note that the peaks of the Experiment II transfer- angles of the transfer-functions, and also from the cross-
functions were smaller by 30% than those of Experiment I correlation functions. The locations of these centers may
transfer-functions, even though the measuring and reference not be accurate for the lower oors (below sixth).
points, and the instrumentation and data processing proce- We note that the computed transfer-functions for the
dures were the same. All the calibration tests gave consistent ground oor were very similar to those for the calibration
results for the frequency dependent sensitivity ratios for all tests. They were almost constant, with amplitudes close to
sensors. unity. Because the modal displacements were normalized to
S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411 403

Fig. 14. Experiment II: transverse (NS) apparent modes of vibration: (a) rst transverse, f 1:4 Hz; (b) rst torsional, f 1:6 Hz; (c) second transverse,
f 4:2 Hz; and (d) second torsional, f 4:9 Hz:

unit maximum amplitude, at the ground oor they vary for be determined. Fig. 15 shows the modal displacements in
different modes. They are small for the lower frequency the plane of each oor. Parts (a) and (b) show, respectively,
modes and large for the higher frequency modes, because results from Experiments I and II. We recall that these
the former are excited more and are associated with larger measurements were taken along longitudinal frame C, and
structural response relative to the ground. We also note that, that most severely damaged were columns 7 and 8 of long-
because of the high stiffness of the slabs (connecting the itudinal frame A (south of frame C) and at the fth oor
frames) in their own planes, the measured response of long- (columns 3, 4 and 5 were also cracked). We also recall that
itudinal frame C could describe the response of all the braces were added to the damaged building before Experi-
longitudinal frames, including damaged frames A and D, ment II (see Fig. 6).
and for both horizontal components of motion. It can be seen that the RC oor slabs, 8.5 in. thick and stiff
From Experiment II measurements, for longitudinal (E in their own plane, translate and rotate about vertical axes.
W) vibrations, system frequencies f 1.1, 3.7, 5.7 and While the transverse component of motion is dominant, the
8.5 Hz were identied, and the corresponding mode shapes response in the longitudinal direction is also signicant,
are shown in Fig. 13. For transverse (NS) vibrations, the especially for the top oors. It can be noticed that during
identied system frequencies were f 1.4, 1.6, 4.2 and Experiment I (Fig. 15a) the transverse component of motion
4.9 Hz, and the corresponding mode shapes are shown in changes phase but the longitudinal does not. Also, the
Fig. 14. For f 8.5 Hz, the signal-to-noise ratio was small, amplitudes of the longitudinal displacements are not propor-
and it was difcult to analyze the phases. tional to the transverse displacements, as it would be
expected for a clean rotation (maximum displacements
4.2. Two-dimensional displacements along the oor slabs at the end columns for both directions of motion, and almost
migration of centers of torsion zero displacements at the centers of rotation). The longitu-
dinal response of the middle columns (C4, C5 and C6) is
As mentioned earlier, the rst torsional mode f clearly seen at each oor. This indicates coupling of the
1:6 Hz could be identied from both the transverse and torsional response for this mode with the longitudinal
the longitudinal vibrations, and therefore both longitudinal response. The phase of the longitudinal response of the
and transverse components of the modal displacement could upper oors (roof, seventh and sixth) is opposite from the
404 S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411

Fig. 15. Vector displacement amplitudes in the planes of the oor slabs (at second through seventh oors and roof) at the frequency of the rst torsional mode
f 1:6 Hz : (a) Experiment I; and (b) Experiment II. The oval gray zones show approximate locations of the centers of rotation. Notice in part (a) the jump
in the position of the centers of rotation between fth and sixth oors.

one at the lower oors (third and fourth), and it was difcult transverse modes, or both resulted in nally the external
to dene for the second and fth oors. frame A being more damaged than the external frame D.
The shaded oval zones in Fig. 15a illustrate the loci of the The results of Experiment II (Fig. 15b) show that, in
centers of rotation for the oor slabs, determined by drawing contrast to Experiment I, the centers of rotation are all
a normal to the displacement vectors. Due to measurement south of frame C, and are all near the center of the frame
errors and some deformation of the oor slabs, the center (near column line 5). This may be explained by the added
of rotation for a oor slab is not a point but a zone. braces (see Fig. 6) which have eliminated torsional eccen-
The centers of rotation are located south of frame C tricities caused by the damaged columns at fth oor and
at the upper oors (above the fth), and north of frame C at mainly along (south) frame A.
the lower oors (fth and below). At the lower oors, they
are located close to the middle (column 5), and then they 4.3. Two-dimensional displacements along transverse
jump to the east part of the frame at the sixth oor. building cross-sections
Between sixth oor and the roof, they move again towards
the center of the frame. The jump from south to north is As the building vibrates, most of the deformations occur
between the fth and sixth oors, exactly where the most in the columns. Consequently, the oor slabs deform also in
severe damage occurred (Fig. 3). the vertical direction. The transverse and longitudinal
Searching for possible scenarios that explain why exter- modes could also be seen in the vertical response, especially
nal (south) frame A was more damaged than external (north) at the upper oors.
frame D, the above measurements might be interpreted to Fig. 16 shows two-dimensional, in-plane motions of
indicate the following. Once shear cracks occurred in the transverse frames 2, 5 and 8 at the frequency of the
fth oor columns, the energy associated with torsional rst transverse mode (part (a), f 1:4 Hz; and at the
motion was rst dissipated in the newly formed hinges. frequency of the rst torsional mode (part (b), f
Then either the increased eccentricity of the response [40], 1:6 Hz: The vertical displacements have been exagger-
or simultaneous excitation of the rst torsional and the rst ated by a factor of two to emphasize the deformation of
S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411 405

Fig. 16. Experiment IIin-plane displacements of transverse frames 2, 5 and 8: (a) at the frequency of the rst transverse mode f 1:4 Hz; and (b) at the
frequency of the rst torsional mode f 1:6 Hz:

the columns. A noticeable vertical displacement is seen 5. Summary and conclusions

only at column A5 of the fth oor, and only at the
frequency of the rst transverse mode (see Figs. 12 and 5.1. Summary of the results of the two ambient vibration
14, parts (a)). This column experienced large shear cracks surveys
(Fig. 3) during the Northridge earthquake, and the large
vertical displacement in Fig. 16 indicates decreased axial Both ambient vibration surveys took place after the build-
capacity of this column. No large vertical displacement is ing was damaged from the 17 January 1994 Northridge
noticeable of column A5 at the seventh oor, presumably earthquake and its aftershocks and before it was repaired.
because of participation of the neighboring frames and The structural damage was extensive in the exterior long-
slabs. The vertical displacements of transverse frames 2 itudinal frames (A and D; Fig. 3). The building was declared
and 8 were small, as it would be expected, because the unsafe and was not in use at the time of the experiments.
columns in these frames suffered less (frame 8) or no Experiment I was conducted on 45 February 1994,
(frame 2) damage (Fig. 3). No unusual vertical displace- approximately two and a half weeks after the earthquake.
ments of the transverse frames 2, 5 and 8 could be seen at Experiment II was conducted on 1920 April 1994, three
the rst torsional frequency f 1:6 Hz; Fig. 16, part (b)) months after the earthquake, and one month after the 20
[4]. March aftershock M 5:2: Between the two experiments,
406 S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411

Table 1
Frequencies of the longitudinal (EW) and transverse (NS) modes of vibration

Mode shapes EW f (Hz) Df(%) Mode shapes NS f (Hz) Df (%)

Experiment I Experiment II Experiment I Experiment II

February 94 April 94 February 94 April 94

1.0 1.1 10 1.4 1.4 0

3.5 3.7 6 1.6 1.6 0

5.7 5.7 0 3.9 4.2 10

8.1 8.5 5 4.9 4.9 0

the building was restrained temporarily by wooden braces No characteristic frequencies and mode-shapes were
(Fig. 6). identied for vertical vibrations (the strong vertical motion
The building has symmetric geometry and approximately at f 0:5 Hz; observed during Experiment I was probably
uniform distribution of mass and stiffness. It has thick and due to vibrations caused by the electrical equipment in the
heavy slabs, stiff in their own planes. Spandrel beams building). The transfer-function of the recorded vertical
connect the outside columns, and most of the lateral loads motions had peaks at the frequencies of the longitudinal
are carried by the exterior frames. According to these char- and transverse modes. The vertical responses at these
acteristics, its structural system cannot be described as a frequencies, analyzed alone or combined with the corre-
weak beam-strong column system. In spite of its apparent sponding horizontal responses, may be useful for identica-
symmetry, the structure experienced strong torsional tion of the damage of the columns. Changes in the
response [40]. amplitudes of the vertical responses (large vertical ampli-
Table 1 shows the frequencies of the identied modes tude of a column, implied loss of axial capacity) were
(measured at interior longitudinal frame C) and sketches noticed near one of the damaged columns where ambient
of the corresponding mode-shapes. Values for the frequen- noise was measured (column A5 at the fth oor). The
cies are listed for each experiment. The percentage change identication of the damaged structural members would
is given in the last column. Changes in the modal frequen- have been more complete had the vertical motions been
cies were expected because of differences in the state of the recorded at more points throughout the structure.
structure and of the underlying soil (addition of wooden The purpose of the test was to nd out whether highly
braces, and possible additional damage from the M 5:2 localized damage in structural members could be detected
aftershock with epicenter at distance of only about 1.2 km). by ambient vibration surveys. The results in this paper show
Table 1 (left) shows that three out of the four identied that this cannot be done with the common procedures.
frequencies for longitudinal vibrations increased (the rst Analyses of complex building behavior (with interaction
one by 10 percent, and the second and fourth 6 and 5 of many structural components) require much higher spatial
percents), due to the addition of wooden braces, placed at resolution of recording. To detect severe and localized
the longitudinal frames (Fig. 6). The frequency of the third column damage (e.g. about 0.5 m long plastic hinges),
longitudinal mode was not affected. Table 1 (right) shows that ambient noise should be recorded at comparable separation
the frequencies of the rst transverse and rst torsional modes distances. Performing such detailed experiments may not be
did not change due the addition of braces, but the frequency of feasible in most practical situations. Although loss of axial
the second purely transverse mode increased by 10 percents. capacity could be seen in the vertical response of the
S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411 407

damaged columns, moderate or weak damage of this kind vertical base recordings to separate the foundation rocking
will not be noticed in most ambient response surveys. More and translation due to soilstructure interaction from the
detailed surveys of ambient vibrations should be developed recorded (total) response. The rocking part of response
for damage detection, when the loss of strength is moderate was separated, only roughly, by low-pass ltering, thanks
and when the damage is less obvious. to the fact that the xed-base frequency of this building
appears to be much higher than the foundation rocking
5.2. Summary of results of other studies of this building frequency [5,6]. The ambient vibration analysis was parti-
cularly useful in the interpretation of nonlinear soilstruc-
Ambient vibration surveys are a useful tool to be used ture interaction using the earthquake response data.
along with other types of data and methods of analysis. This Fourier analysis: The transfer-functions between the
building is an interesting case study because three types of oor responses and the base response were calculated [5].
independent data are available: earthquake response data For the events for which the building response was large
over the period of 25 years, earthquake damage data for (San Fernando, Northridge, Landers and Whittier-Narrows),
two earthquakes, and ambient vibration data recorded in these transfer-functions had a broad peak at frequencies
the damaged building as well as in the ground around the much smaller than the fundamental xed-base frequency,
building [38,40]. In the following, we briey summarize our calculated from the structural characteristics or estimated
previous and other current work related to this building, and from the ambient vibration tests (.1.4 Hz for the NS
in the next section we present our general conclusions and direction and .1.0 Hz for the EW direction). This indicated
recommendations for future earthquake and ambient noise that the loss of stiffness could not be explained by nonli-
recording and analyses. nearity of the structure alone and its degradation due to
damage. We concluded that the nonlinearity of the soil
5.2.1. Nonlinear soilstructure interaction identication response contributed mainly to the nonlinear behavior of
The building was rst instrumented by the US Geological the overall system.
Survey, and then by the California Division of Mines and Timefrequency analysis: Nonlinear effects in the
Geology (CDMG). We gathered or processed records of the response of soilstructure stiffness depend on the level of
following earthquakes in this building, listed in chronologi- the excitation and also on the initial state of the system (e.g.
cal order (R is the epicentral distance) [5]: the state of the soil, such as degree of consolidation, water
content etc.). The building damage permanently changes the
system, but the soil can heal itself and recover the original
Earthquake Date M R (km) stiffness by settlement with time and dynamic compaction
from shaking during smaller events. Timefrequency analy-
San Fernando 02/09/1971 6.6 22
sis of all the earthquake records by two independent meth-
Whittier Narrows 10/01/1987 5.9 41
ods (short-time Fourier transform and zero-crossing
Whittier-Narrows Aft. 10/04/1987 5.3 38
analyses) showed that the system frequency changed, from
Pasadena 10/03/1988 4.9 32
earthquake to earthquake and during a particular earthquake
Montebello 06/12/1989 4.1 34
[6]. Figs. 17 and 18 show the instantaneous system
Malibu 01/19/1989 5.0 36
frequency fp on the abscissa and the peaks of the rocking
Sierra Madre 06/28/1991 5.8 44
angles u x t and u y t (band-pass ltered by Ormsby lters
Landers 06/28/1992 7.5 186
between 0.10.2 and 0.81.0 Hz). These gures show
Big Bear 06/28/1992 6.5 149
progressive reduction of fp with increasing amplitude of
Northridge 01/17/1994 6.5 1.5
response, but the reduction is not permanent. It is seen
Northridge Aft. 03/20/1994 5.2 1.2
that during both ambient vibration tests fp of the transverse
Northridge Aft. 12/06/1994 4.5 10.8
(NS) response is near 1.4 Hz, and close to the value for the
smallest earthquake motions (Montebello, 1989 earthquake;
As far as we know, the rst strong motion recording in Fig. 18). This suggests that the soilfoundationstructure
this building was of the 1968 Borrego Mountain earthquake, stiffness was regenerated by the weak shaking of the
but the processed data is not available at present. The 1971 Northridge aftershocks. For the longitudinal (EW) response,
San Fernando earthquake was recorded by three self- ambient vibration surveys indicate only partial recovery,
contained AR-240 (analog) triaxial accelerographs [41], from 0.40.6 Hz during Northridge to fp 11:1 Hz (note
and the other eventsby a 13 channel CR-1 recording that during the aftershock on March 20, 1994, fp ,
system (analog) and one SMA-1 triaxial accelerograph 1:31:4 Hz; see Fig. 17). The shift in fp from 1.0 Hz (45
[42]. The largest recorded response was of the 1994 event February 1994) to 1.1 Hz (1920 April 1994) was inter-
[25,40]. preted to have resulted in part from increase in the building
In Refs. [5,6] we present Fourier and timefrequency stiffness associated with temporary wooden braces, primar-
analysis of the earthquake response data. Unfortunately, ily along frames A and D (see Fig. 6). Consistent with this
there were neither free-eld recordings nor two or more interpretation is the fact that, for Experiment II, the peaks of
408 S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411

Fig. 17. Peak amplitudes of u x (EW rocking acceleration) versus fp (apparent frequency of the soilfoundationstructure system), during 12 earthquakes. The
gray vertical lines show the apparent EW frequencies of the system response, as determined from Experiment I and Experiment II.

the transfer-functions were smaller by 30% than for Micro-tremor motions of the ground surrounding the
Experiment I, suggesting stiffer overall system at the building: At the time of Experiment II, we also recorded
time of Experiment II. Figs. 17 and 18 also suggest motions at a grid of points in the parking lot surrounding the
that the soil-pile foundation system during strong shaking building, and at the reference sites located on the ground
behaves as a nonlinear system with gap elements, which oor inside the building. The purpose was to detect some
open during strong motion and are closed by aftershock characteristic ground deformation associated with soil
excitations. structure interaction for at least the fundamental transverse
f 1:4 Hz and longitudinal f 1:1 Hz modes of vibra-
5.2.2. Other studies tion (as in our study of Millikan Library [19]). We could not
Wave propagation in the building: In[3], we present an see any peaks in the Fourier spectra of the motion around the
analysis of wave propagation in the building from the building that could be associated with the building rocking
recorded acceleration earthquake response. By cross-corre- or translation, because (as the analysis of the recorded data
lation and cross-spectrum analyses, we obtained estimates showed) the foundation of this building was exible. We
of the velocity of waves propagating vertically along the did nd evidence of wave propagation and of deformation
columns (,100 m/s) and horizontally along the oor slabs of the building foundation during the passage of microtre-
(,2000 m/s). A comparison of results for different earth- mor waves. The overall pattern of the computed time delays
quakes showed a reduction of velocity in the areas of implied that the microtremor waves arrived primarily from
severely damaged columns by the Northridge earthquake the west, and then scattered from and diffracted around the
(Fig. 3). building foundation. The computed time delays
S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411 409

Fig. 18. Peak amplitudes of u y (NS rocking acceleration) versus fp (apparent frequency of the soilfoundationstructure system), during 12 earthquakes. The
gray vertical line shows the apparent EW frequency of the system response, as determined from Experiment I and Experiment II.

corresponded to horizontal phase velocity of about 300 m/s, The existing strong motion instrumentation in the
consistent with the interpretation that micro-tremors are VN7SH building was not sufcient to estimate the rocking
high frequency Rayleigh waves propagating through shal- response associated with soilstructure interaction, which
low soil layers. The contours of time delays for vertical signicantly affected the response of the building. Addi-
motion also implied wave arrival from west and southwest, tional recorders, placed at the opposite diagonal corners of
with apparent phase velocities between 250 and 300 m/s. each oor, would have provided valuable information to
The results of that analysis are presented in Ref. [40]. measure the rocking response (longitudinal and transverse)
and the foundation warping during the passage of seismic
5.3. General conclusions and recommendations waves. Free-eld recordings near the building would have,
as well, provided valuable information for analysis of the
The studies of the response of this building to ambient building-foundation response.
noise and to earthquake shaking show the value of full-scale The following simple and useful standard practice
experiments in describing dynamic characteristics of real, is recommended for instrumentation of future buildings.
three-dimensional structures. The results of these studies First, a three-dimensional ambient vibration test of the
can be used to guide future implementations of recording building should be performed, similar, but not necessa-
systems in buildings (number of channels and their location rily as detailed as the test of the VN7SH building.
in the buildings), so that future building recordings provide Based on the three-dimensional deformations and
more valuable and complete information on the structural mode shapes determined from these tests, a knowledge-
performance during earthquakes. able committee, with expertise in full-scale testing of
410 S.S. Ivanovic et al. / Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering 19 (2000) 391411

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