DOWNLOAD previous article 3. article - 2009/2next article Andrej Gosar

A microtremor HVSR study of the seismic site effects in the area of the town of Brežice (SE Slovenia)


The wider region of Brežice is one of the most seismically active areas of Slovenia. The most damaging earthquake occurred in 1917, when Brežice was hit by an ML=5.7 earthquake that had an VIII MSK maximum intensity. Seismic site effects due to Quaternary sediments can be expected in the whole area of the town. Since there is a lack of boreholes and geophysical data to assess the site effects, the microtremor (ambient vibrations) horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (HVSR) method was applied at 113 free-field measuring points. In general, clear spectral peaks were obtained, but there were also examples of flat spectral ratios indicating a low impedance contrast between the sediments and the bedrock. A map of the sediment resonance frequency was drawn, which shows a frequency range of 1–15 Hz. In the southern part of the town higher frequencies correspond to the thin sediments (the Brežice terrace and the middle Sava terrace) and the high HVSR peak amplitudes indicate a great impedance contrast with the Sarmatian and Badenian bedrock. The northern part is characterized by very low frequencies, indicating thick sediments (Plio-Quaternary gravel) and a small impedance contrast with Pontian marl. The transition between the high and low frequencies is relatively steep. In addition, measurements were performed in 12 characteristic houses to assess the longitudinal and transverse building frequencies. The established building frequency range of 5–10 Hz indicates some areas in the southern part of the town where there is a potential danger of soil-structure resonance. Two buildings show direct evidence of a potential soil-structure resonance. According to this study, more pronounced seismic site effects are expected in the southern part of Brežice.


ambient vibrations, microtremors, horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio (HVSR), seismic site effects, soil-structure resonance