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NEHRP earthquake loading

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In the '97 NEHRP, seismic design is based on 2/3 of the 2,500 return period
earthquake (2,500 year return period = 2% probability of exceedance in 50
years).  Does anyone know what rationale is used to justify the 2/3?  I have
read through the commentary, and can't seem to find anything about the 2/3.
I assume either it was an arbitrary decision about the design level to work
toward, or there is something specific about it that I am missing.  

Paul Crocker