Analysis of the seismic risk to a structure requires assessment of both the rate of occurrence of future earthquake ground motions (hazard) and the effect of these ground motions on the structure (response). These two pieces are often linked using an intensity measure such as spectral acceleration. However, earth scientists typically use the geometric mean of the spectral accelerations of the two horizontal components of ground motion as the intensity measure for hazard analysis, while structural engineers often use spectral acceleration of a single horizontal component as the intensity measure for response analysis. This inconsistency in definitions is typically not recognized when the two assessments are combined, resulting in unconservative conclusions about the seismic risk to the structure. The source and impact of the problem is examined in this paper, and several potential resolutions are proposed. This discussion is directly applicable to probabilistic analyses, but also has implications for deterministic seismic evaluations.

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