Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 2465–2481 | Cite as

How could cumulative damage affect the macroseismic assessment?

  • Stefano GrimazEmail author
  • Petra Malisan
Original Research Paper


When strong earthquakes occur, buildings are usually affected by multiple, consecutive seismic shakings causing a progression of the damage. This paper presents a comprehensive discussion on how the cumulative damage caused by multiple shocks could influence the assignment of macroseismic intensity. The potential consequences in case of single or multiple shocks are investigated through a large set of simulations, applying a simplified non-linear structural model on a stock of masonry buildings taken from real cases. The results allow an estimation of the changes in vulnerability, with reference to the European Macroseismic Scale classification, for the buildings that suffered a specific damage in a prior shock. Simulations reckon a significant difference in the macroseismic intensity assignments, especially when the same damage is associated to single or multiple seismic shocks. We highlight the potential bias due to the cumulative damage on the correlation between macroseismic intensity and ground motion parameters, and we formulate a proposal for testing on the field, in the case of future earthquakes, what has been here investigated through a simplified simulation.


Cumulative damage Macroseismic intensity EMS98 Multiple seismic shocks Seismic ground motion 



This study has benefited from funding provided by the Italian Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri—Dipartimento della Protezione Civile (DPC), S2-2014 Project—“Constraining Observations into Seismic Hazard”. This paper does not necessarily represent DPC official opinion and policies. The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which helped improving the quality of the manuscript. Many thanks also to F. Barazza and F. De Col, for the support given in the numerical simulations.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Safety and Protection Intersectoral Laboratory - SPRINT-LabUniversity of UdineUdineItaly

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