Using Cubic Splines to Evaluate Shear Wave Velocities of the 1886 Charleston Earthquake Region

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Mathematics

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jodi Mead


Local geology can influence how an area will respond to an earthquake. For example, on the east coast, the velocity contrast between the top two sediment layers dominates the amplification of ground motion. In this work, we characterize shear wave velocities of the two layers with cubic splines that approximate dispersion curves created by plotting phase velocity vs. frequency data from a seismic survey. We used more than 5,000 shots obtained through 14 km of seismic data collected near an M~7 earthquake in 1886 that devastated Charleston, South Carolina. The data was very noisy; therefore we simultaneously smoothed the data while fitting it to splines that could potentially estimate slopes and intercepts of the dispersion curves. We analyzed cubic splines and the smoothing technique used.

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