Tomb raiders of the lost accelerogram: A fresh look on a stale problem
Throughout recorded history, accelerograms have displayed an unfortunate tendency to become unrecorded and lost. Statistically speaking, even after the advent of low-cost accelerometers, the ground motion retains an almost 100% chance of staying unobserved at any given point. One may only place some limits on the peak amplitude of ground motion by observing its effects, or lack thereof. To do so, seismologists took to the mountains, looking for fragile geological features, such as precariously balanced rocks. Structural engineers took a slightly more cinematic and sinister approach. They put on their fedora hats (or tank top and shorts, for video game enthusiasts) and went tomb raiding, searching for rocking rigid bodies that may have survived or toppled in graveyards, tombs, mausoleums, churches, and temples. Yet how is one to best make sense of such low-entropy (and sometimes contradictory) uncertain information? Let’s have some fun by blowing an old problem to smithereens, perhaps needlessly bringing to bear all the tools of contemporary earthquake engineering, ranging from ground motion prediction models and correlation structures to rocking body fragilities and Bayesian analysis.