Open Seismic Risk Assessment Tool image 3

Liquefaction Failure at Balboa Blvd.
(LA Times)

Open Seismic Risk Assessment Tool image 4

Granada Trunk Line
(O'Rourke and Palmer, 1994)

Project Team:

Jonathan Bray (Principal Investigator), Norm Abrahamson, Jennie Watson-Lamprey,
Chris Bain, Jens Birkholzer, Alodie Bubeck, Sherif Elfass, William Foxall, Stevan Gavrilovic, Sanjay Govindjee, Peter Hubbard, Daniel Hutabarat, Tara Hutchinson, Preston Jordan, Grace Kang, Amarnath Kasalanati, Maxime Lacour, Micaela Largent, Scott Lindvall, Keurfon Luu, David McCallen, Frank McKenna, Tom O’Rourke, Elide Pantoli, Jonny Rutqvist, Tsubasa Sasaki, Matt Schoettler, Kenichi Soga, Steve Thompson, Chien-Chih “James” Wang, Tianchen Xu, Yingqi Zhang, Barry Zheng

OpenSRA - Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering Assessment Tool for Natural Gas Storage and Pipeline Systems

Open-source Seismic Risk Assessment Tool

The project "Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering Assessment Tool for Natural Gas Storage and Pipeline Systems," henceforth referred to as the "OpenSRA Project," is a multi-year study to develop open-source seismic risk assessment tools for natural gas infrastructure.

An overview of the project is documented in Performance-Based Earthquake Engineering Assessment Tool for Natural Gas Storage and Pipeline Systems, Final Project Report. written by Micaela Largent, Jennie Watson-Lamprey, Jonathan Bray, and Norm Abrahamson, and published by the California Energy Commission, March 2023.


The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) center in conjunction with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the SimCenter at Berkeley, and Slate Geotechnical Consultants and its subcontractors Lettis Consultants International (LCI), and Thomas O’Rourke, is conducting a study to develop an open-source seismic risk assessment tool, called OpenSRA.

The probabilistic seismic risk tool developed in this project will follow the widely accepted risk methodology of Dr. A. Cornell. A seismic source characterization is used to develop a suite of earthquake scenarios with associated rates of occurrence to represent the seismic hazard. Fault ruptures and the resulting ground deformation are generated for each earthquake scenario to represent the seismic loading, which includes a map of ground motion parameters. This scenario-based seismic parameter map is overlaid on the infrastructure system and the seismic loading combined with the capacities of the infrastructure to calculate the seismic performance of the natural gas system for the scenario. By repeating the process for all the scenarios in the suite the tool can evaluate the seismic risk to the system.

Targeted research is also being performed to improve the characterization of uncertainty of key inputs to the seismic risk assessment tool. A user-driven research approach is being used with the primary objective of creating an open-source seismic risk tool (OpenSRA) for natural gas infrastructure that will be easily usable by regulators and utilities and which includes updated models and methods for the seismic demands and capacities that control the seismic risk for natural gas systems. The project includes several innovative approaches that will improve on the basic methodology and distinguish our approach from standard approaches currently used. Current risk studies developed by the utilities use risk scoring approaches that are highly subjective and qualitative. They do not properly incorporate the uncertainties in the seismic demand and in the fragility of the system and its components. The seismic risk methodology employed in this project provides quantitative estimates of the probabilistic seismic risk. For risk-informed decision-making processes the reliability of the risk estimates needs to be considered as this can be significant, particularly for large rare earthquakes.

In the OpenSRA Project, the Research Scope is conducted by seven research groups, each addressing a particular area of study and expertise, and collaborating with the other research groups.

  • Software Development - Open-Source Seismic Risk Assessment (OpenSRA) Software
  • Fault Displacement - Fault Displacement Hazard
  • Liquefaction and Landsliding - Enhanced Regional Liquefaction and Ground Deformation
  • Wells and Caprocks - Seismic Response of Wells and Caprocks
  • Surficial Infrastructure - Seismic Response of Pipeline and Gas Storage Surface Infrastructure
  • Sensing Technologies - Smart Gas Infrastructure Sensing of Wells and Pipeline Connections Performance
  • Fragility Development

Detailed information about each group can be found on their webpage by clicking on the links in the left menu bar.