2011 Tohoku-Oki Earthquake and Tsunami Featured in <em>Earthquake Spectra</em> Special Issue


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Earthquake Spectra Special Issue, March 2013 Earthquake Spectra Special Issue, March 2013

OAKLAND, CA, May 13, 2013 — The Tohoku-oki Earthquake and Tsunami, March 11, 2011, devastated the northeast coast of Honshu, Japan. Since Japan’s sophisticated infrastructure is built to some of the highest engineering standards for earthquakes and tsunamis in the world, studying the damage provides significant lessons learned for other countries with similar high seismic risk.

“The Tohoku-oki earthquake and tsunami is re-educating the population across Japan about risk. . . . And while they had a Plan A to mitigate structural hazards and a Plan B to educate the population and issue warnings, there was no Plan C, the ‘what if’ plan: What if a disaster occurs that exceeds the strength of their structures and contingencies for response? Hurricane Katrina was such an event for the United States,” says Richard Eisner, guest co-editor of Earthquake Spectra.

In this special issue of Earthquake Spectra, researchers examine the seismology and geotechnical aspects; tsunami damage; shaking damage to buildings; performance of bridges; and societal impacts, response, and recovery of the 2011 Tohoku-oki Earthquake in Japan. This special issue of Earthquake Spectra was co-edited by James Mori, DPRI, Kyoto University, and Richard Eisner.

Highlights include:

  • Authors Stewart et al. discuss the implications of the Mw 9.0 earthquake for ground scaling with source, path, and site parameters.
  • Chock et al. outline the tsunami-induced building failure analysis and its implications for U.S. tsunami and seismic design codes.
  • Okawa et al. analyze the recorded responses of building structures during the earthquake and their implications for future structural practice.
  • Kawashima and Buckle research the structural performance of bridges in the earthquake and their performance provides insight into the design of tsunami-resistant bridges.
  • As a participant observer in the Iwate Prefecture Operations Center, Maki describes the challenges to governments in implementing a post-Kobe national response plan that had not been tested or exercised.
  • Articles by author Tatsuki and by authors Brittingham and Wachtendorf provide in-depth data on the causes of the devastating death toll and the response to the needs of the most vulnerable disaster victims.
“The Tohoku-oki earthquake and tsunami are reminders that even the most-prepared communities in the most-prepared countries can be overwhelmed. The earthquake and tsunami also remind us that becoming resilient is more than just building stronger structures. It is also about building social structures that create stronger communities,” says Eisner.

This special issue of Earthquake Spectra is a collaboration between U.S. and Japanese researchers, initiated under the leadership of the Professor Masayoshi Nakashima and the Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI) of Kyoto University, Professor Jack P. Moehle of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). Cooperative research projects were supported by the Japanese Science and Technology Agency, the Japanese Institute for Social Safety Science (ISSS), and the U.S. National Science Foundation.

The journal is also supported in part by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, World Bank; and the Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University.

Earthquake Spectra, the peer-reviewed professional journal of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), aims to improve the practice of earthquake hazards mitigation, preparedness, and recovery—and serves as the publication of record for the development of earthquake engineering practice, earthquake codes and regulations, earthquake public policy, and earthquake investigation reports.

Individual articles (PDFs) from this issue of Earthquake Spectra (vol.  29, num. S1) can be purchased online, and the whole printed journal is available for purchase here.

Download this press release (PDF).

The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is a national, nonprofit, technical society of engineers, geoscientists, architects, planners, public officials, and social scientists. The objective of EERI is to reduce earthquake risk by advancing the science and practice of earthquake engineering; improving understanding of the impact of earthquakes on the physical, social, economic, political, and cultural environment; and advocating comprehensive and realistic measures for reducing the harmful effects of earthquakes. EERI is a leader in earthquake investigations and in the dissemination of earthquake risk reduction information both in the US and globally in cooperation with its international partners.