YMC Blog

500 years of earthquake history: how academia and government are collaborating to reduce earthquake risk in the Dominican Republic?

Author: Ashley Morales-Cartagena, MSc The Dominican Republic (DR) is considered a hotspot for disasters resulting from natural hazards. According to the World Bank from 1980 to 2008 disasters affected 2.65 million people in the DR. We have learned from more frequent hydro-meteorological disasters, however, earthquakes have been less frequent, and there is no ‘culture of preparedness’ for earthquakes. While the scientific community has long anticipated the “Big One”, the seismic risk has not been adequately communicated to the public. It is up to the emerging generation of leaders in risk reduction and mitigation to ensure the country’s resilience to future earthquakes. Academia, industry, and civic organizations are working to identify ways to help build an earthquake-resilient country. In this blog post, Ashley discusses seismicity and the risk profile in the DR, and ongoing work to understand and reduce earthquake risk, and academic-government organizations tackling the challenges of communicating and reducing earthquake risk.

A Critical Look at the Numerical Modeling of Reinforced Concrete Structures for Extreme Events

Author: Maha Kenawy, Ph.D., University of Nevada, Reno The advent of performance-based earthquake engineering placed large emphasis on quantifying extreme limit states of structures. Predicting structural performance under extreme events relies upon the availability of sophisticated yet efficient numerical tools which can capture the highly nonlinear behavior of structures, and particularly the deterioration of structural components. This article looks at the numerical modeling approaches employed today in simulating the response of reinforced concrete structures to extreme loads, and highlights some of the existing gaps and novel frameworks that were recently developed to advance the current state of structural modeling.

Benchmarking of FEMA P-58 Expected Seismic Losses to Observed Loss Data from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake

Author: Dustin Cook, P.E., Ph.D. Candidate, University of Colorado Boulder One of the pressing challenges of new and evolving seismic risk assessment methods is the need to validate, confirm, and/or verify the outcome of these assessments to support their broader use. A recent collaborative study between the University of Colorado Boulder and the Haselton Baker Risk Group performs a scenario assessment of over 2.6 million buildings to benchmark losses from FEMA P-58 with observed losses from the 1994 Northridge earthquake. This comparison indicates that, while results from FEMA P-58 are heavily dependent upon modeling decisions, the method can be used to provide accurate predictions of post-earthquake economic losses.

What might have been: counterfactual thinking in risk analysis

Author: Yolanda C. Lin, Ph.D., Research Fellow, Disaster Analytics for Society Lab at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. After an earthquake, earthquake engineers and scientists work tirelessly to understand exactly the mechanisms of what happened, what was damaged, who was affected, how we can best move forward. In the process, we typically strive to identify what valuable lessons-learned can be harnessed from the event, so that a future, similar event may be safer and less impactful the next time around. But, why restrict ourselves to learning from our past disasters only exactly as they unfolded? To address this, we are formalizing a framework to incorporate the use of counterfactual thinking to take a second look at past disasters and uncover additional lessons-learned that we may have missed before.

Learning from Earthquakes: Returning to New Zealand

Author: Christine Z. Beyzaei, Ph.D., Senior Engineer, Exponent The EERI Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) Travel Study Program provides the opportunity for young professionals to visit areas previously impacted by earthquakes and observe the long-term recovery efforts and resiliency measures implemented in the years following the earthquake event. The 2019 LFE Travel Study program brought a group of 25 young professionals to New Zealand, to observe recovery following the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquake sequence and the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake. The program was co-hosted by EERI and QuakeCoRe (a NZ Crown Research Institute), with participants from around the world comprising a diverse, multidisciplinary group.

Cushing, Oklahoma: What’s Happened to the historic downtown

Author: Ezra Jampole, Ph.D., P.E., Senior Engineer, Exponent On 07 November 2016 (01:44:25 UTC) a M5.0 earthquake devastated the historic downtown of Cushing, Oklahoma. Within a week of the earthquake, EERI sent a reconnaissance team to Cushing to document the damage to the built environment and implement a business resilience survey in the historic downtown. The team found that unreinforced masonry buildings sustained significant damage, including out-of-plumbness, partial collapses, and extensive façade damage, effectively closing the downtown. More than two years after the earthquake, Ezra Jampole returned to Cushing’s historic downtown to observe how the community had rebuilt following the earthquake. Numerous buildings have been demolished and many buildings sit unrepaired.

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