Journal of Seismology

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 1021–1039 | Cite as

Analysis of ambient noise in Yalova, Turkey: discrimination between artificial and natural excitations

  • Esref Yalcinkaya
  • Serhat Tekebas
  • Ali Pinar
Original Article


Ambient noise measurements acquired in Yalova, which was highly damaged during the 1999 Izmit earthquake, are analyzed to explore the site characteristics. The region of Yalova is governed by complex geological and geomorphological structures consisting of river beds extending from the mountains to the sea, ridges between them, plains in front of them with different size, and the sea coast. As a result of these shallow geological features, the H/V curves exhibit complex patterns. Clear peaks in the H/V curves, which can be interpreted as reliable site resonance frequency, are observed only at about half of the measurement sites. At the remaining sites industrial peaks, broad peaks, or flat responses dominate the spectral ratio graphs. We observed that man-made noises generated by marble cutting machines in Hersek delta mask the site resonance frequencies or can be misinterpreted as a resonance frequency. In total, we identified three anthropogenic noise sources at fundamental frequencies of 1.3, 1.5, and 1.7 Hz along with their two- and threefold harmonics. The parts of H/V curves showing unusual low scattering can be a clue to identify anthropogenic effects. In the assessment of H/V curves, the site location and the similarity of the near surface geology were taken into account. The Laledere plain with thick and soft sediment sequence surprisingly displays flat responses due to a possible low impedance contrast. The Ciftlikkoy and Hacimehmet plains exhibit clear resonance peaks at nearly 1 Hz possessing the largest amplitudes. These sites experienced the highest damage in Yalova during the Izmit earthquake. In contrast, the Cinarcik region which was also exposed to high damage, do not show any obvious amplifications on the H/V curves. Generally, the H/V curves for valley and ridge sites in Yalova reveals a resonance peak at approximately 1 Hz and almost flat curves, respectively. However, several sites on the ridges and valleys portray different patterns.


Ambient noise H/V method Yalova Industrial peak Complex geology 



The authors wish to thank H. Woith and T. Dahm for constructive comments that helped to improve the quality of the paper. This research was partially supported by Scientific and Technological Council of Turkey (TUBITAK Project No. 109M317).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geophysical Engineering, Engineering FacultyIstanbul UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Earthquake Engineering, Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research InstituteBogazici UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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