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Logic Tree Approach Used In


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Logic tree address uncertainty involved in SHA.

Uncertainties in SHA are dealt in sequential


Breaks a complex problem into smaller simple


First introduced into probabilistic seismic hazard

analysis (PSHA) by Kulkarni et al. (1984)

Seismic Hazard Analysis

Quantitative estimation of ground shaking hazards at a
particular site.

Deterministic Seismic Hazard Analysis (DSHA)

Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis (PSHA)

Steps involved in DSHA

Identification and characterization of sources

Selection of a source-to-site distance parameter

Selection of the controlling earthquake.

Hazard defined in terms of ground motion


Steps involved in PSHA

Identification and characterization of source zone.

Seismicity of source zone is then characterized.

Ground motion parameters are determined using

predictive relationships.

Probability of exceedence of ground motion

parameter during a particular time period is

Types of uncertainties involved in

There are two types of uncertainties that are
dealt with in SHA :

Aleatory uncertainty

Epistemic uncertainty

Aleatory Uncertainty
Uncertainties that are related to an apparent
randomness in nature.

It is easy to incorporate such variability directly

into the hazard calculations.

Ground motion prediction equations are the

most important aleatory uncertainty in SHA.

Epistemic Uncertainty
Uncertainties due to insufficient knowledge are
known as epistemic uncertainties.

The main epistemic uncertainties involved in any

Characteristics of the seismic source zones
The model for the recurrence relationship.
The maximum earthquake magnitude.

Logic Tree
Logic tree contains a series of nodes and

Each node represents an assessment of a state
of nature or an input parameter.

Branch represents one possible discrete

alternative for the state of nature.

Branches are weighted suitably.

Logic Tree contd

A typical Logic Tree

Logic Tree contd

It is advisable that
branches are placed
adequately represent
parameter estimation.

a sufficient number of
at a given node to
the uncertainty in the

Logic Tree Weights

Probabilities that represent the relative
likelihood or degree of belief that the branch
represents are known as weights.

The weights are usually based on subjective


Logic Tree Weights contd

Vick (2002) defines :
Probability as a measure of stable

An expression of belief.

Features of Logic Tree Weights based on

frequency-based probabilities
1. Weights at a node must sum to unity.
2. Events for which they are defined must be
3. Events for which they are defined must be
mutually exclusive.
4. Must represent the relative rate at which
alternative events are occurring.

Features of logic-tree weights based on

degree of belief


Weights at a node should sum to unity.


Branches do not include all of the possible



Options on the branches of a logic tree will not

be mutually exclusive.


Weighted average of the hazard values does

not give the expected value.

How to assign weights?

General considerations

Multiple set of relative weights applicable to the

selected equations should be adopted.

The degree of dependence between branches of

the logic tree should also be considered.

Criteria for Grading Candidate Equations

Candidate equations should be grouped into two

categories intrinsic and application specific.

Intrinsic factors - confidence of the user in a

particular equation.

The application-specific characteristics can be

divided into those

related to the conventions adopted for the hazard

related to the specific environment for which the SHA
is performed.

Ranking and Combining Criteria for Logic

Tree Weights
a hierarchy for the influence of each factor on the
final weighting.

a transparent system for combining the grading

for the different factors into a single weight.

Logic Tree for New Madrid Seismic

Zone: A Case Study
The area considered
in the study is, as
shown in the adjacent
figure, between 35oN
to 38oN latitude and
faults and position of
past earthquakes are
also shown in the
same figure.

Source model alternatives for the

New Madrid seismic zone.

The adjacent figure

presents a Logic Tree

for the New Madrid
Seismic Zone.

Using a logic tree to incorporate model

alternatives into a seismic hazard analysis
leads to a distribution of possible seismic
hazard results. This distribution can be
represented by a mean seismic hazard map
and a coefficient of variation (COV) map as
shown in the figures below.

Other issues related to Logic Trees

Selection of specific ground motion prediction


Multiple opinions are not uniform data sets and

cannot be averaged.

Logic trees make sense

earthquake risk analysis.




Problems with Logic Tree approach

Problems with Logic Tree approach as listed by E.
L. Krinitzsky (1995):
Other attenuations could have been used in logic

The weightings are arbitrary and are no more

than guesses.

Maximum magnitudes with the percentage

weightings could have been made into an almost
infinite series of weighted values.

Recurrence rate and b-values are totally

unsuitable for generating design values.


Best way to address procedure related, or

epistemic uncertainties, is using Logic Trees.

Ground motion models used should very closely

represent the future ground motion.

Epistemic uncertainty should be addressed fully.

Importance of the weights decreases as the

number of branches used in Logic Tree

Issues rose by different researchers in their

papers should also be kept in mind.