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Professional Paper 1552-D

Prepared in cooperation with the National Science Foundation

The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989—Earth Structures and Engineering Characterization of Ground Motion

Edited by Thomas L. Holzer


photo of geologist viewing a large crack in a concrete wall; the wall is twice as tall as the person.

This chapter contains two papers that summarize the performance of engineered earth structures—dams and stabilized excavations in soil—and two papers that characterize for engineering purposes the attenuation of ground motion with distance during the Loma Prieta earthquake. Documenting the field performance of engineered structures and confirming empirically based predictions of ground motion are critical for safe and cost effective seismic design of future structures as well as the retrofitting of existing ones.

This publication consists of the following articles:

  • Introduction, by Thomas L. Holzer

  • Performance of earth dams during the Loma Prieta earthquake, by Leslie F. Harder, J.D. Bray, R.L. Volpe, and K.V. Rodda

  • Analysis of soil-nailed excavations stability during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, by Mladen Vucetic, Mark R. Tufenkjian, Guy Y. Felio, Pirooz Barar, and K Ronald Chapman

  • Empirical analysis of peak horizontal acceleration, peak horizontal velocity, and modified Mercalli intensity, by Kenneth W. Campbell

  • Attenuation of vertical and horizontal response spectra of the Loma Prieta earthquake, by Yousef Bozorgnia and Mansour Niazi

Download the text of this publication as an 81-page PDF file (pp1552d.pdf; 2.8 MB)

For questions about the content of this report, contact Tom Holzer

This publication is part of the set of four multi-chapter USGS Professional Papers on the Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989:

Professional Paper 1550, Earthquake Occurrence, Coordinators: William H. Bakun and William H. Prescott

Professional Paper 1551, Strong Ground Motion and Ground Failure, Coordinator: Thomas L. Holzer

Professional Paper 1552, Performance of the Built Environment, Coordinator, Thomas L. Holzer

Professional Paper 1553, Societal Response, Coordinator: Dennis S. Mileti

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Maintained by: Michael Diggles
Created: July 15, 2006
Last modified: July 15, 2006 (mfd)