The urban corridor encompassing the cities of Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec in eastem Canada is subject to a considerable earthquake hazard, as recently detailed in the 2005 National Building Code of Canada (NBCC). In much of this zone, the shaking response will be modified from the “firm ground” estimated response by the presence of thick soft sediments (with low shear wave velocities) overlying competent bedrock (with very high shear wave velocities). The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) in conjunction with the Earthquake Research Centre of Carleton University is mapping the geophysical properties of soils of the Ottawa area in order to demonstrate the utility of such geophysical techniques for microzonation studies. These surveys include surface shear wave refraction/reflection site analyses, shear wave reflection profiling to delineate overburden stratigraphy, analyses and inversion of surface wave data to obtain shear wave velocity-depth functions, borehole geophysical logging, passive seismic noise monitoring for soil resonance measurements, as well as ground-truth monitoring of earthquake amplification with portable broad-band seismograph stations.

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