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PSHA is the method used most to assess seismic hazards for input into various aspects of public and financial policy. For example, PSHA was used by the U.S. Geological Survey to develop the National Seismic Hazard Maps (Frankel et al., 1996, 2002). These maps are the basis for many national, state, and local seismic safety regulations and design standards, such as the NEHRP Recommended Provisions for Seismic Regulations for New Buildings and Other Structures, the International Building Code, and the International Residential Code. Adoption and implementation of these regulations and design standards would have significant impacts on many communities in the New Madrid area, including Memphis, Tennessee and Paducah, Kentucky. Although "mitigating risks to society from earthquakes involves economic and policy issues" (Stein, 2004), seismic hazard assessment is the basis. Seismologists should provide the best information on seismic hazards and communicate them to users and policy makers. There is a lack of effort in communicating the uncertainties in seismic hazard assessment in the central U.S., however. Use of 10%, 5%, and 2% PE in 50 years causes confusion in communicating seismic hazard assessment. It would be easy to discuss and understand the design ground motions if the true meaning of the ground motion derived from PSHA were presented, i.e., the ground motion with the estimated uncertainty or the associated confidence level.
Additional Publication Details
Comment on "How can seismic hazard around the New Madrid seismic zone be similar to that in California?" by Arthur Frankel