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MCEER Bulletin, Volume 23, Number 1, Spring/Summer 2009

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Volume 23, Number 1, Spring/Summer 2009

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MCEER Joins Team from Politecnico di Torino to Investigate Damage following the L’Aquila Earthquake

MCEER researchers from reconnaissance mission

Team members from the joint Politecnico di Torino and MCEER-University at Buffalo reconnaissance mission; (from left) Gian Paolo Cimellaro, Alessandro De Stefano, Andrei Reinhorn and Tatiana Kirova.

On April 6, 2009 a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the central Italian town of L’Aquila, causing almost 300 deaths, about 1,000 injuries, and damage to roughly 15,000 buildings. The earthquake occurred about 60 m east of Rome, along a fault running NW-SE in the central Apennines Mountain range.

On April 15, 2009, Ioannis Christovasilis, a graduate student in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at the University at Buffalo, visited the stricken region on behalf of MCEER. He was accompanied by Giuseppina Patalano, an engineer from Florence, Italy. He primarily investigated the performance of residential construction on the periphery of the city of L’Aquila, as entry to the city center was generally not allowed at the time of his visit. He provided preliminary damage reports that can be viewed online.

Later in the month of April, MCEER investigators Andrei Reinhorn, Clifford C. Furnas Professor of Structural Engineering, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, and Gian Paolo Cimellaro, Assistant Professor, Department of Structural and Geotechnical Engineering, Politecnico di Torino and a graduate of the University at Buffalo’s doctoral program in earthquake engineering, joined a team from the Politecnico di Torino to conduct a more extensive survey of damage caused by the earthquake. They focused their attention on damage to infrastructure facilities, particularly electric power, water, hospitals and telecommunications, with a particular interest in the performance of historic palace monuments. They interviewed experts in the area and collected data primarily in the L’Aquila, Paganica, Onna, Castelnuovo and Sulmona areas.

Dr. Cimellaro and Mr. Christovasilis presented the preliminary findings from the reconnaissance visits at a seminar given June 11, 2009 at the University at Buffalo (see seminar review). Dr. Cimellaro also presented a seminar on April 15, based on preliminary information gathered prior to the reconnaissance trips. A reconnaissance report is under development and will be published in the near future.

In addition to the reconnaissance mission, MCEER’s Information Service created a clearinghouse web page that offers resources and information on the earthquake. Resources include near real-time links to news, images, videos and statistics compiled by Information Service staff members.