Investigator, Member Of Reconnaissance Team In Turkey, Says Infrastructure Is Key To
Recovery in Quake Aftermath
BUFFALO, N.Y., August 20, 1999--While news reports have focused on the
construction methods that caused thousands of buildings to fail in Tuesday's earthquake in
Turkey, a key to the country's recovery from the disaster is the condition of its roads
and bridges in the quake's aftermath, according to an MCEER Principal Investigator and
University at Buffalo engineer who is part of a reconnaissance team that is in Istanbul to
evaluate the earthquake damage.
Links for the Izmet Earthquake of 8/17/99
"A society's ability to respond to an earthquake depends to a large extent on
making sure that the infrastructure is intact and operating," said John
Mander, Ph.D., an expert on how bridges, highways and other transportation
systems withstand earthquake damage. "Without highways and ports working, the whole
society comes to its knees." An associate professor in UB's Department of
Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, Mander also is a principal investigator
with UB's Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER). He is in
Turkey as part of a reconnaissance team coordinated by the Earthquake Engineering Research
Institute in Oakland, Calif. MCEER is sponsoring Mander's participation.
"It's mostly a fact-finding mission," said Mander. "We will be taking a
lot of photos and, where appropriate, measurements in order to get some insights about why
structures collapsed." Mander said that it is intriguing as to why some
structures sustain little earthquake damage while others nearby fail -- outcomes that can
be affected by the nature of the ground on which they are built and the soil, as well as
by the nature of the earthquake waves. "In my view, more can be learned by seeking
out near-failures of structures, or what we might call 'mild successes,' than by looking
at structures that failed completely," he said.
Mander will be especially interested in what he can learn from bridges and highways as
they pertain to the work he is currently conducting with MCEER colleagues on a federally
funded project to improve the seismic performance of the surface transportation system in
the U.S. The project, which has received more than $24 million in contracts from the U.S.
Department of Transportation since 1992, includes studies of the seismic vulnerability of
federal-aid highways, bridges and tunnels, as well research to develop technologies to
retrofit structures and develop design requirements for new highway construction.