Amplification of seismic accelerations at slope crests

A. J. Brennan, S. P. G. Madabhushi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    42 Citations (Scopus)


    Earthquake accelerations can cause many problems in sloping ground. One such problem is that accelerations are greatly amplified at the crest of slopes. This topographic amplification can lead to acceleration gradients along the ground surface, which could create tensile forces in long surface structures that extend between areas of different amplifications. This paper uses centrifuge modelling to demonstrate and quantify this as a problem for a particular slope configuration. A special brittle structure has been constructed to undergo damage in the presence of large differential accelerations. The structure is seen to connect the crest to the level ground behind the crest during an earthquake, reducing the amplitude of the crest motion at the expense of structural tension. Topographic amplification is shown to be a clear function of frequency, and is especially serious for loading frequencies above the natural frequency of the soil layer.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)585-594
    Number of pages10
    JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - May 2009


    • centrifuge
    • earthquake
    • slopes


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