Conditional spectrum-based ground motion selection. Part I: Hazard consistency for risk-based assessments

Ting Lin, Curt B. Haselton, Jack W. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


The conditional spectrum (CS, with mean and variability) is a target response spectrum that links nonlinear dynamic analysis back to probabilistic seismic hazard analysis for ground motion selection. The CS is computed on the basis of a specified conditioning period, whereas structures under consideration may be sensitive to response spectral amplitudes at multiple periods of excitation. Questions remain regarding the appropriate choice of conditioning period when utilizing the CS as the target spectrum. This paper focuses on risk-based assessments, which estimate the annual rate of exceeding a specified structural response amplitude. Seismic hazard analysis, ground motion selection, and nonlinear dynamic analysis are performed, using the conditional spectra with varying conditioning periods, to assess the performance of a 20-story reinforced concrete frame structure. It is shown here that risk-based assessments are relatively insensitive to the choice of conditioning period when the ground motions are carefully selected to ensure hazard consistency. This observed insensitivity to the conditioning period comes from the fact that, when CS-based ground motion selection is used, the distributions of response spectra of the selected ground motions are consistent with the site ground motion hazard curves at all relevant periods; this consistency with the site hazard curves is independent of the conditioning period. The importance of an exact CS (which incorporates multiple causal earthquakes and ground motion prediction models) to achieve the appropriate spectral variability at periods away from the conditioning period is also highlighted. The findings of this paper are expected theoretically but have not been empirically demonstrated previously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1847-1865
Number of pages19
JournalEarthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 10 2013


  • Conditional spectrum
  • Ground motion selection
  • Nonlinear analysis
  • Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis
  • Response spectra
  • Seismic risk assessment


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