Performance Characteristics of Structures, 1985 Mexico City Earthquake

by Charles Scawthorn, Dames & Moore, San Francisco, CA, USA,
Mehmet Celebi, Dames & Moore, San Francisco, CA, USA,
Jorge Prince, Dames & Moore, San Francisco, CA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: The Mexico Earthquakes—1985: Factors Involved and Lessons Learned


The 1985 Mexico City earthquake caused major damage to buildings, but not other structures, in the center of Mexico City, located approximately 400 km. from the epicenter. Due to soil conditions in this area, ground motions were especially amplified at a frequency of about 0. 5 Hz. Due to this unusual amplification, damage was inordinately concentrated in buildings in the 6 to about 12 story range. Based on measurements in 1962 and 1986, average natural periods for buildings in that story range are estimated and, together with an existing mid-rise building seismic damage estimation methodology, are used to estimate building damage for the 1985 ground motions. These estimates are compared with data on observed damage and reasonable agreement is seen to result, within the limits of the available data on observed damage.

Subject Headings: Damage (structural) | Ground motion | Earthquake resistant structures | Developing countries | Earthquakes | Soil dynamics | Seismic loads | Seismic waves | Mexico City | Mexico

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