Communicating with uncertainty: A critical issue with probabilistic seismic hazard analysis


  • Zhenming Wang,

    1. Kentucky Geological Survey, 228 Mining and Mineral Resources Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington
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  • Edward W. Woolery,

  • Baoping Shi,

  • John D. Kiefer


Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) is a widely used method for seismic hazard assessment. PSHA predicts a relationship, called the seismic hazard curve, between the maximum ground motion or response spectra and the annual frequency of exceedance (return period). Generally, the smaller the annual frequency of exceedance, meaning the longer the return period, the larger the ground motion— seismic hazard—PSHA will predict, and vice versa. PSHA is the most widely used method for assessing seismic hazards for input into various aspects of public and financial policy.