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MCEER Bulletin, Volume 21, Number 1, Spring 2007

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Volume 21, Number 1, Spring 2007

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2006 Tri-Center Field Mission Visits New Zealand


Field Mission participants at Arthur’s Pass

A group of 13 students and five educators visited seismically and volcanically active New Zealand on the 2006 Tri-Center Field Mission. The NSF-sponsored trip took place August 15-23, 2006. The team, led by MCEER education director S. Thevanayagam, included four MCEER SLC members: Shuichi Fujikura, Dong Wang, Gian Paolo Cimellaro, and Michael Pollino, all from University at Buffalo.

The group’s first stop was the the University of Canterbury (UC) in Christchurch where John Mander, chair of structural engineering and former UB faculty member and MCEER investigator, organized a research exchange. Each of the EERC students gave presentations, along with nine students from UC. Topics included geotechnical engineering, structural control, structures, and rocking structures. The students viewed demonstration shake table tests and quasi-static tests of post-tensioned beam-column connections. They also visited scenic areas in the Southern Alps while traveling through Arthur’s Pass, stopping at the Otira Viaduct, which crosses one of the largest seismic faults on South Island.

hosptial site group of 4 students(Top photo): Wellington Hospital construction site with base isolation seismic protection and (left photo): MCEER SLC participants at the site

Travel continued to Wellington, the country’s capital, on the North Island. At the Geological and Nuclear Sciences Research Institute (GNS), they heard presentations on seismic hazard modeling, GNS’ active faults database, volcanoes, loss modeling, and other topics. Dr. Andrew King arranged the GNS program.

The group then went on a technical tour along the Wellington fault line. They visited Thorndon Motorway, which passes directly over a fault and is designed to protect against fault rupture. At the University of Victoria, participants toured the Rankin Brown Library Building, retrofitted with base isolation techniques using elastomeric, lead-core bearings. Next, the students toured the under-construction Wellington Hospital, seismically designed with base isolation using a combination of flat friction and elastomeric bearings.

The final stop was the University of Auckland, arranged by professors Michael Pender, and Sri Sritharan. Students gave research presentations, took a tour of the laboratory facilities and attended a lecture. Sightseeing activities in Auckland included a visit to Sky Tower and hiking to the top of Rangitoto Island.

Student reports and a photo journal will be posted on the SLC website and more on the series is available on the MCEER Tri-Center Field Mission webpage.