Conterminous, Gridded, Deaggregated, and Uncertain

Four matriarchs contributed to hazard the site. They organized magnificently, flaring their skirts and baring their teeth amid intervals of laughter which corresponded to columns and distances unachievable without a scope.

Which they had, of course. Its upper endpoint magnified the intervals. For example, the number 6 meant that seismic sources with magnitudes in the interval 5.5 < Mw < = 6 were included in their hazard calculations. Such numbers gave the upper endpoint epicentral distance, which they needed. They would never argue red wine over white except when the occasion demanded. They stomped around the gape, a bit tipsy, mind you.

The eldest of them chanted, "We have deaggregated the hazard to examine the contribution to hazard as a function of magnitude and distance. This plot can be useful for a specific design. Probably," she added in a mirthful afterthought.

"We considered the epistemic uncertainty in ground-motion attenuating relations," another responded, she, long ago, also adopting the traditional tribal we.

"Let’s capture any differences between attenuated relations. Grab them by the pants," agreed another used to the brute forces of the ancient ways and sensitive to the slightest seismic shift.

They chuckled and lifted their skirts to their thighs. The diameter of the circle was proportional to the ratio of the 85th to the 15th fractile result for the 0.2 sec spectral acceleration at 10% PE in 50 years.

Their levity should not be taken lightly. As historical records bear out, too many have ignored their bellied calculations. Men get cockled—fear mostly—mystery of the ovum and the void. Awe does not come easily.


Cheryl Pallant's books include Into Stillness and Uncommon Grammar Cloth, both published by Station Hill Press (NY), and the chapbook, Spontaneities, from Belladonna Press (NY). Her poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous print and online journals such as HOW2, Moria, lyric, and Confrontation. She is also a dancer and the co-editor of the dance magazine Contact Quarterly. She teaches classes in creative writing, dance, and a blend of the two at the University of Richmond.