Using state-of-the-art computational tools in seismology and structural engineering, validated using data from the Mw=6.7 January 1994 Northridge earthquake, we determine the damage to two 18-story steel moment-frame buildings, one existing and one new, located in southern California due to ground motions from two hypothetical magnitude 7.9 earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault. The new building has the same configuration as the existing building but has been redesigned to current building code standards. Two cases are considered: rupture initiating at Parkfield and propagating from north to south, and rupture propagating from south to north and terminating at Parkfield. Severe damage occurs in these buildings at many locations in the region in the north-to-south rupture scenario. Peak velocities of 1 m.s−1 and 2 m.s−1 occur in the Los Angeles Basin and San Fernando Valley, respectively, while the corresponding peak displacements are about 1 m and 2 m, respectively. Peak interstory drifts in the two buildings exceed 0.10 and 0.06 in many areas of the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles Basin, respectively. The redesigned building performs significantly better than the existing building; however, its improved design based on the 1997 Uniform Building Code is still not adequate to prevent serious damage. The results from the south-to-north scenario are not as alarming, although damage is serious enough to cause significant business interruption and compromise life safety.

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