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Quantifying Earthquake Collapse Risk of Tall Steel Braced Frame Buildings Using Rupture-to-Rafters Simulations


Mourhatch, Ramses (2015) Quantifying Earthquake Collapse Risk of Tall Steel Braced Frame Buildings Using Rupture-to-Rafters Simulations. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z9DV1GTG.


This thesis examines collapse risk of tall steel braced frame buildings using rupture-to-rafters simulations due to suite of San Andreas earthquakes. Two key advancements in this work are the development of (i) a rational methodology for assigning scenario earthquake probabilities and (ii) an artificial correction-free approach to broadband ground motion simulation. The work can be divided into the following sections: earthquake source modeling, earthquake probability calculations, ground motion simulations, building response, and performance analysis.

As a first step the kinematic source inversions of past earthquakes in the magnitude range of 6-8 are used to simulate 60 scenario earthquakes on the San Andreas fault. For each scenario earthquake a 30-year occurrence probability is calculated and we present a rational method to redistribute the forecast earthquake probabilities from UCERF to the simulated scenario earthquake. We illustrate the inner workings of the method through an example involving earthquakes on the San Andreas fault in southern California.

Next, three-component broadband ground motion histories are computed at 636 sites in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area by superposing short-period (0.2~s-2.0~s) empirical Green's function synthetics on top of long-period ($>$ 2.0~s) spectral element synthetics. We superimpose these seismograms on low-frequency seismograms, computed from kinematic source models using the spectral element method, to produce broadband seismograms.

Using the ground motions at 636 sites for the 60 scenario earthquakes, 3-D nonlinear analysis of several variants of an 18-story steel braced frame building, designed for three soil types using the 1994 and 1997 Uniform Building Code provisions and subjected to these ground motions, are conducted. Model performance is classified into one of five performance levels: Immediate Occupancy, Life Safety, Collapse Prevention, Red-Tagged, and Model Collapse. The results are combined with the 30-year probability of occurrence of the San Andreas scenario earthquakes using the PEER performance based earthquake engineering framework to determine the probability of exceedance of these limit states over the next 30 years.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Earthquake, Earthquake hazard, Earthquake risk, Ground motion simulation, High frequency ground notions, Empirical Green's function, Braced frame, Steel braced frame, Earthquake probabilities, UCERF, Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Civil Engineering
Minor Option:Geophysics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Heaton, Thomas H. (co-advisor)
  • Krishnan, Swaminathan (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Hall, John F. (chair)
  • Krishnan, Swaminathan
  • Beck, James L.
  • Graves, Robert W.
  • Heaton, Thomas H.
Defense Date:9 April 2015
Non-Caltech Author Email:ramses.mourhatch (AT)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05252015-122512887
Persistent URL:
Mourhatch, Ramses0000-0001-8037-726X
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8886
Deposited By: Ramses Mourhatch
Deposited On:29 May 2015 20:55
Last Modified:07 Nov 2022 23:20

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