ROSRINE 5b: Recent Field Activities and Data Dissemination Efforts
Robert Nigbor1, Jennifer Swift2, Jean-Paul Bardet3, John Diehl4

ROSRINE, the Resolution of Site Response Issues in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, is an ongoing government-academia-industry research collaboration focused on improving engineering models of earthquake ground motion through collection, synthesis, and dissemination of data on subsurface conditions at key strong ground motion (SM) station sites in California (Nigbor et al. 2001). Since 1996 a total of more than 50 SM sites have been characterized using drilling, borehole logging, surface geophysics, and laboratory testing; V30 results show that many sites have previously been misclassified. Currently under way, the PEER Lifelines project ROSRINE Phase 5b (Project 2A01) includes investigations of the SM sites in California shown in figure 1. Data are publicly disseminated through the project’s website

Fig.1. Locations of current ROSRINE Phase 5b site investigations (white dots).
Shaded relief basemap (Sterner 1995)

Field Investigations

ROSRINE 5b field investigations at the selected SM sites include:

• collection of information from previous site investigations
• obtaining permissions and permits
• drilling to 100 m (soil sites) or 30 m (rock sites)
• lithology logging during drilling
• collection of SPT samples for index property testing
• collection of high-quality samples (Pitcher or Shelby tube) for dynamic laboratory testing
• measurement of P- and S-wave velocity profiles (figure 2)

Investigations are carried out under ROSRINE procedures and within a formal quality assurance environment to ensure reliable data.
In a related PEER Lifelines effort, Professor Kenneth Stokoe will lead a team from the University of Texas, Austin, in measuring Vs profiles using seismic analysis of surface wave (SASW) methods at approximately 15 strong motion sites in Southern California. This work will be done later this year and the results will be added to the ROSRINE website.

Fig. 2. ROSRINE 5b P- and S-wave logging results
from Yermo, April 25, 2001

Laboratory Testing

Laboratory testing of soil/rock samples has been a central component throughout the various phases of the ROSRINE project. Simple index property testing is an important part of the site geotechnical site characterization and is now being done by certified commercial laboratories.

Dynamic soil testing has been performed at the University of Texas, Austin, and at the University of California, Los Angeles, on high-quality samples collected from ROSRINE boreholes. Further testing will be done later this year under separate PEER Lifelines funding (Project 2B01/02).

Data Dissemination Developments

An integrated system based on the Relational Database Management System (RDBMS), the Geographic Information System (GIS), and the Internet Map Server (IMS) was recently developed at the University of Southern California (USC) by Ph.D. Research Associate Jennifer Swift and Professors Jean-Pierre Bardet and Robert Nigbor to disseminate the geotechnical data of ROSRINE over the Internet (Swift et al. 2001). Within the framework of this particular large-scale collaborative research project in geotechnical earthquake engineering and engineering seismology, RDBMS, GIS, and IMS technologies were combined to efficiently collect, organize, and disseminate an increasing amount of information, including soil boreholes, shear-wave velocity profiles, technical drawings, photographs, and basic information on associated strong motion stations. In 2000, the first ROSRINE website (established in 1998) was upgraded from conventional static HTML pages that contained a limited amount of data to a dynamic website that handles increasingly complicated and voluminous information ( The integration of RDBMS, GIS, and IMS allows users to query spatially geotechnical, geophysical, and laboratory data and allows web operators to maintain data more efficiently. In 2001 this technology was further improved to include a combination of Microsoft Access, custom Active Server Pages (ASP), ESRI’s ArcView, ArcView IMS, Avenue and Dynamic Hypertext Markup Language (DHTML) custom programming to process the end-user queries with increased efficiency. Data from recent phases of ROSRINE performed at sites in California in late 1999, early 2000, as well as from Phase 5b will be available in the near future. The ROSRINE pioneering effort in displaying and disseminating data within the geotechnical earthquake engineering community over the Internet may be useful as a model for other projects in engineering communities dealing with large-scale data collection.

Related Efforts

ROSRINE Phase 5a, funded jointly by Kajima Corporation and the Nuclear Power Engineering Corporation (NUPEC) of Japan, is part of a study of near-field seismic design criteria for nuclear power plants in Japan. ROSRINE 5a investigations were performed at the following sites in California in late 1999 and early 2000: El Centro #7 (Imperial Valley College); Devers Substation; North Palm Springs; Desert Hot Springs; Corralitos; and Gilroy #6. In addition, extensive array microtremor measurements were conducted in Imperial Valley to investigate deep (<6 km) structure. Data from these additional sites will be available through a memorandum of understanding between PEARL/PEER (Pacific Gas and Electric Company, California Energy Commission, and the California Department of Transportation/Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research) and Kajima when matching data from ROSRINE are provided to Kajmia/NUPEC.

Site characterization methodologies developed within the ROSRINE project are being included in strong motion station guidelines under development for the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS).

Many analytical studies of site response have used and are using ROSRINE data. In order to preserve this information resource for the future, the community (through a Consortium of Organizations for Strong Motion Observation Systems (COSMOS) working group) is looking at development of unified geotechnical data storage and dissemination for ROSRINE and other similar projects. Later this year a PEER-sponsored workshop will attempt to resolve issues and move forward with implementation.


ROSRINE 5b (PEER 2A01) is led by Robert Nigbor (PI) of USC and John Diehl (co-PI) of GeoVision Geophysical Services. Jennifer Swift of USC is responsible for the data dissemination and many of the new database features. The ROSRINE Technical Advisory Committee (Don Anderson, Cliff Roblee, Bob Nigbor, Bob Pyke, John Schneider, Walt Silva, and Jon Stewart) oversees the various ROSRINE activities. Sandy Jack, Tony Martin, Rob Steller and many others have assisted with the field investigations. J.P. Bardet continues to provide valuable assistance with database technologies, and hosts ROSRINE within his GEOINFO website


Nigbor, R. L., J. Diehl, and J. Swift. 2001. Characterization of US Sites: ROSRINE 5B, PEER Lifelines Research Project 2A01 — Site Response. Presented at 2001 PEER Annual Meeting, Oakland, Calif., January 25–26.
Swift, J., J.-P. Bardet, R. L. Nigbor, and J. Hu. 2001. An Integrated RDBMS-GIS-IMS system for dissemination of information in geotechnical earthquake engineering. Submitted to Computers & Geosciences.
Sterner, R. 2001. Shaded relief map of California, from Color landform atlas of the United States website:, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory,

1Research Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Southern California
2Research Associate, University of Southern California
3Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Southern California
4President, GeoVision Geophysical Services, Corona, California