Determination of site period for NZS1170.5:2004


The fundamental site period, T, is a key parameter for site classification in NZS 1170.5:2004. Many sites in New Zealand will fall into site classes C and D, where the boundary between the site classes is T = 0.6 seconds. NZS 1170.5 offers several methods of determining site classification. The intent of this paper is to expand on NZS 1170.5 and guide practising engineers towards more accurate and efficient methods for determining site period. We review methods to calculate the shear-wave velocity, then give specific examples for calculating the site period for five types of soil profile (uniform layer, shear-wave velocity increasing as a power of depth, shear modulus increasing linearly with depth, two-layer profile and three-layer profile). We find that NZS 1170.5 clause for calculating site period at layered sites is unconservative and inconsistent with two other well-accepted methods for calculating site period. We consider the most accurate and efficient method of calculating site period for layered sites is to represent the profile as a lumped mass system, then calculate the fundamental frequency from the eigenvalues of the system. The successive application of the two-layer closed form solution is also considered an acceptable method.


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How to Cite
Larkin, T., & Van Houtte, C. (2014). Determination of site period for NZS1170.5:2004. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 47(1), 28-40.