A seismic fragility assessment procedure is developed for atmospheric steel liquid storage tanks. Appropriate system and component-level damage states are defined by identifying the failure modes that may occur during a strong ground motion. Special attention is paid to the elephant’s foot buckling failure mode, where the estimation of the associated capacity and demand requires thorough consideration within a probabilistic framework. A novel damage state is introduced to existing procedures with respect to the uncontrollable loss of containment scenario. Fragility curves are estimated by introducing both aleatory and epistemic sources of uncertainty, thus providing a comprehensive methodology for the seismic risk assessment of liquid storage tanks. The importance of dynamic buckling is acknowledged and the issue of non-sequential damage states is finally revealed.

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