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Effect of nonuniform seismic input on arch dams

California Institute of Technology
Publication Date
  • Engineering


Standard earthquake analyses of civil engineering structures use uniform ground motions even though considerable variations in both amplitude and phase can occur along the foundation interface for long-span bridges and large dams. The objective of this thesis is to quantify the effect that these nonuniformities have on the structural response. The nonuniform, free-field motions of the foundation interface are assumed to be caused by incident plane body waves. The medium in which these waves travel is a linear, elastic half-space containing a canyon of uniform cross section in which the structure is placed. The solutions for the free-field motions that are due to incident SH, P and SV waves are calculated using the boundary element method. An analysis of Pacoima (arch) dam located near Los Angeles, California, is performed for both uniform and nonuniform excitations. The important effect of nonuniformities in the free-field motions, sometimes leading to a decrease in the dam response and sometimes to an increase, is quantified.

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