Evaluation of seismic hazard for the assessment of historical elements at risk: description of input and selection of intensity measures

John Douglas, Darius M. Seyedi, Thomas Ulrich, Hormoz Modaressi, Evelyne Foerster, Kyriazis Pitilakis, Dimitris Pitilakis, Anna Karatzetzou, George Gazetas, Evangelia Garini, Marianna Loli

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21 Citations (Scopus)
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The assessment of historical elements at risk from earthquake loading presents a number of differences from the seismic evaluation of modern structures, for design or retrofitting purposes, which is covered by existing building codes, and for the development of fragility curves, procedures for which have been extensively developed in the past decade. This article briefly discusses: the hazard framework for historical assets, including a consideration of the appropriate return period to be used for such elements at risk; the intensity measures that could be used to describe earthquake shaking for the analysis of historical assets; and available approaches for their assessment. We then discuss various unique aspects of historical assets that mean the characterisation of earthquake loading must be different from that for modern structures. For example, historical buildings are often composed of heterogeneous materials (e.g., old masonry) and they are sometimes located where strong local site effects occur due to: steep topography (e.g., hilltops), basin effects or foundations built on the remains of previous structures. Standard seismic hazard assessment undertaken for modern structures and the majority of sites is generally not appropriate. Within the PERPETUATE project performance-based assessments, using nonlinear static and dynamic analyses for the evaluation of structural response of historical assets, were undertaken. The steps outlined in this article are important for input to these assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-65
Number of pages17
JournalBulletin of Earthquake Engineering
Issue number1
Early online date26 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • cultural heritage assets
  • fragility curves
  • historical buildings
  • intensity measures
  • monuments
  • seismic hazard assessment
  • site effects


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