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What is a poor quality strong-motion record?

Douglas, J. (2003) What is a poor quality strong-motion record? Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, 1 (1). pp. 141-156. ISSN 1573-1456

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Some accelerograms are affected by non-standard recording and digitization problems that mean they are often not used in strong-motion studies. These non-standard problems cannot be corrected by the standard processing techniques that remove low and high-frequency noise from the time-history. Records from analogue instruments are more prone to these problems but even records from digital instruments, which are becoming increasingly common, can be affected by such errors. Since all strong-motion data is valuable it is important to know whether any useful information can be obtained from accelerograms that are affected by such problems. This article examines whether strong-motion records from analogue instruments that are missing their initial part due to late triggering of the instrument and also strong-motion records from digital instruments with low A/D converter resolution can be used for response spectral studies. It is found, by simulating such errors on high-quality strong-motion records, that good response spectral ordinates can be obtained from such 'poor-quality' records within the period range of most engineering interest.