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Earthquake forces

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I am on a committee to answer questions asked in Structure Magazine
published quarterly by the National Council of Structural Engineers
Associations.  I am asking for responses to be sent to me at
loveengr(--nospam--at)msn.com so I can summarize them and come up with a consensus of
opinion.

2.  Prescriptive code design level earthquake forces are generally believed
to be about one third real-time earthquake forces.  If ductile behavior is
necessary to absorb the additional energy beyond the elastic capacity, why
does conventional wisdom dictate that the lateral force resisting elements
be proportioned based on their relative stiffness?

Sam Love
Love Engineering
Ogden, Utah