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An operational-oriented approach to the assessment of low probability seismic ground motions for critical infrastructures

AuthorsGarcía-Fernández, Mariano CSIC ORCID ; Assatourians, Karen; Jiménez-Santos, María José CSIC ORCID
KeywordsEarthquake scenarios
Risk management
Critical infrastructures
Extreme ground motion
Seismic hazard
Issue DateJan-2018
CitationJournal of Seismology 22(1): 123-136 (2018)
AbstractExtreme natural hazard events have the potential to cause significant disruption to critical infrastructure (CI) networks. Among them, earthquakes represent a major threat as sudden-onset events with limited, if any, capability of forecast, and high damage potential. In recent years, the increased exposure of interdependent systems has heightened concern, motivating the need for a framework for the management of these increased hazards. The seismic performance level and resilience of existing non-nuclear CIs can be analyzed by identifying the ground motion input values leading to failure of selected key elements. Main interest focuses on the ground motions exceeding the original design values, which should correspond to low probability occurrence. A seismic hazard methodology has been specifically developed to consider low-probability ground motions affecting elongated CI networks. The approach is based on Monte Carlo simulation, which allows for building long-duration synthetic earthquake catalogs to derive low-probability amplitudes. This approach does not affect the mean hazard values and allows obtaining a representation of maximum amplitudes that follow a general extreme-value distribution. This facilitates the analysis of the occurrence of extremes, i.e., very low probability of exceedance from unlikely combinations, for the development of, e.g., stress tests, among other applications. Following this methodology, extreme ground-motion scenarios have been developed for selected combinations of modeling inputs including seismic activity models (source model and magnitude-recurrence relationship), ground motion prediction equations (GMPE), hazard levels, and fractiles of extreme ground motion. The different results provide an overview of the effects of different hazard modeling inputs on the generated extreme motion hazard scenarios. This approach to seismic hazard is at the core of the risk analysis procedure developed and applied to European CI transport networks within the framework of the European-funded INFRARISK project. Such an operational seismic hazard framework can be used to provide insight in a timely manner to make informed risk management or regulating further decisions on the required level of detail or on the adoption of measures, the cost of which can be balanced against the benefits of the measures in question.
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