ABSTRACT

Probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) is moving from ergodic ground‐motion models (GMMs) to nonergodic GMMs that account for site‐source‐specific source, path, and site effects and which require a much larger number of GMM branches on the logic tree to capture the full epistemic uncertainty. An efficient method for computing PSHA with a large number of GMM branches was developed by Lacour and Abrahamson (2019) using polynomial chaos (PC) expansion with the key assumption that the epistemic uncertainty in the median ground motion is fully correlated. In the current study, we remove the assumption of full correlation using a multivariate PC expansion. The correlation structure of the available median GMMs across scenarios is computed empirically. The median ground motion is modeled as a Gaussian random process with the correlation structure of the GMMs across the range of relevant earthquake scenarios. This Gaussian random process is discretized using the Karhunen–Loeve expansion, which leads to multivariate PC expansions of uncertain hazard curves. The hazard fractiles can be reconstructed during an efficient postprocessing phase that includes the effects of partial correlation between the GMMs. Multivariate PC expansions require significantly more terms than for the fully correlated case, which increases the calculation time by about a factor of 5, but it is still much more efficient than direct sampling of the branches of the GMM logic for a large number of branches. An example hazard calculation shows that the effect of using partial correlation in place of full correlation of the GMMs is small for the Next Generation Attenuation‐West2 (NGA‐West2) set of GMMs, indicating that the fully correlated assumption may be adequate for many applications. The multivariate PC method can be used to evaluate the effects of the partial correlation of the GMMs for sets of GMMs that are different from the NGA‐West2 GMMs.

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