2008 – Seismic hazard assessment at Hinze Dam

Paul Somerville, Gary Gibson

Abstract: This paper describes current methods for seismic hazard analysis and their application at Hinze Dam. Although Southeastern Queensland has experienced significant earthquakes in historical time, none of them are known to have caused surface rupture, and no active faults that could be used to represent earthquake sources have been identified in the region that surrounds the site. Under these conditions, we must estimate the seismic potential of the region using historical seismicity. Two alternative approaches to modelling future earthquake occurrence based on historical seismicity have been used. The first approach is based on the AUS5 source model of ES&S (2005), which uses geological criteria to identify zones of uniform seismic potential, and then uses historical seismicity to characterize the seismic potential of each zone. The second approach, developed by Hall et al. (2007) at Risk Frontiers, is based on the spatial smoothing of historical seismicity without identifying discrete source zones. Previous work by ES&S has shown that the attenuation of strong ground motion in Southeastern Australia is fairly well represented by ground motion models developed using strong motion data from western North America. The recently developed NGA ground motion models based mainly on data from Western North America represent the local site conditions using Vs30, the shear wave velocity averaged over the top 30 metres at the site. This provides a significant advantage over previous models, which were for broad site categories such as rock or soil, and did not provide for the use of more site-specific information. The left abutment, lower tower and valley section foundation at Hinze Dam are characterized by hard unweathered rocks with shear wave velocity of 2.0 km/sec estimated from P wave velocity measurements. The right abutment of the main embankment and the saddle embankment foundation consist of extremely weathered rock, with shear wave velocity of 0.45 km/sec estimated from P wave velocity measurements. This causes the ground motion response spectra estimated for the right abutment and neighbouring foundation components to be significantly larger than for the left abutment and neighbouring foundation components, by factors of 1.4, 2.0 and 2.3 for periods of 0 (PGA), 0.5 sec and 1 sec respectively.

Keywords: seismic hazard analysis.


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