US pipeline operators may receive USGS automated earthquake notifications. In most of these cases, the seismic event poses little threat to pipeline assets. However, until an analysis is performed there can be uncertainty as to when and what actions should be taken.

The paper describes the development and implementation of a simplified screening process to assess the effects of seismic events on buried pipelines. A design basis was established based on a literature review of seismic models, seismic-pipeline interactions, von Mises equivalent pipeline stress limits, standards, regulations, and practices that are currently used to assess seismic effects on buried pipelines. This design basis was used to develop a screening tool that provides a simple “pass/no pass” determination and is based on the readily obtained attributes (seismic magnitude and pipeline distance from the earthquake epicenter).

“No Pass” scenarios are sub-divided into medium or high threat categories, with the latter likely needing to be evaluated on a more detailed basis.

General guidelines and charts have been developed and incorporated into a general procedure to assess when and what actions should be taken.

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