The purpose of this paper is to present the seismic wave propagation in soil-structure media for dynamic analysis of arch dam structures, using a complex spectral element method.

Most dynamic, soil-structure interaction analyses for designing large arch dam structures may be carried out using the conventional finite element (FEM) method. However, in order to guarantee stability and accuracy of the solution, the number of elements used to model the coupled field media may be very large indeed; and accurate results can only be obtained after substantial computational effort. Consequently it appears that, for the dynamic analysis of large arch dam structures, it may be more effective to use alternative mathematical modelling techniques.

In this respect, attention is paid to an alternative complex spectral approach, which works in the frequency domain, and draws its robustness from the speed and switching capabilities of the fast fourier transform (FFT).

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