Center Activities

NCEER-INCEDE Project Focuses on Post-Earthquake Reconstruction

NCEER and the International Center for Disaster Mitigation Engineering (INCEDE) at the University of Tokyo, Japan, have begun work on a cooperative center-to-center research project to develop post-earthquake reconstruction strategies. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), respectively. These strategies will aim toward: shortening the recovery period following an earthquake; improving seismic resistance of the built environment; and minimizing the cost of reconstruction.

The two Centers will use the recent earthquakes in Northridge, California and Kobe, Japan to identify generic issues for post-disaster reconstruction. Other case studies will be conducted/reviewed to identify exemplary technical, societal and financial strategies for retrofitting and post-earthquake repair and restoration. In addition, individual, disciplinary-oriented research will be performed to fill knowledge gaps and to formulate recovery strategies.

The specific topics emphasized by the research team will include: innovative approaches to land use; strategies for financing repair, reconstruction and recovery; priority-setting for repair, reconstruction and recovery; use of new technologies and engineering approaches; strategies for incorporating the mitigation of future damage into the recovery process; strategies for encouraging economic recovery and containing economic losses; and strategies for determining acceptable levels of future performance for earthquake-damaged structures.

Professor T. Katayama, Director of INCEDE, will coordinate activities on the Japan side. NCEER Director George Lee, Deputy Director Ian Buckle, Research Committee Chair Masanobu Shinozuka and Research Committee member Kathleen Tierney will coordinate activities on the U.S. side.

The two centers will exchange researchers and students throughout the duration of the three-year project. An organizational workshop is being planned for February 1996. Click here to return to the Table of Contents

Fourth National Workshop on Bridge Research in Progress

The Fourth National Workshop on Bridge Research in Progress will be held in Buffalo, New York, on June 17-19, 1996. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the program is being organized by the Civil Engineering Department of the University at Buffalo and NCEER. The workshop will provide a forum for interaction and information exchange among bridge researchers, designers, and bridge-owning agencies about current bridge research, and research needs which are not currently being addressed.

The program will build on previous NSF-sponsored workshops in this series that took place at Iowa State University (1988), the University of Nevada, Reno (1990), and the University of California, San Diego (1992).

The 2 ?day workshop will include keynote and invited presentations selected from submitted abstracts. A variety of topics will be covered, including:

For further information, contact either Ian Buckle or Ian Friedland at NCEER; phone: (716) 645-3391; fax: (716) 645-3399; or email:
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International Conference on Retrofitting of Structures

The International Conference on Retrofitting of Structures will be held on March 11-13, 1996 at Columbia University, New York City, New York. The conference is sponsored by the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics of Columbia University, the National Science Foundation and NCEER.

The three day conference will consist of oral presentations and technical discussion sessions in the broad category of retrofitting, including the retrofit of bridges and buildings, innovative retrofit methods and modern, nondestructive evaluation techniques. Sixteen invited speakers from the U.S., Japan and Europe, including practicing engineers, university researchers, and government representatives, will present their work.

The registration fee to the conference is $350. For further information, contact Professor Raimondo Betti, Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Columbia University, 610 S.W. Mudd Building, New York, NY 10027; phone: (212) 854-3143; fax: (212) 854-6267; or email:
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The December 7, 1988 Spitak (Armenia) Earthquake: The Results of Analysis of Structural Behavior

On November 3, Dr. Vladimir A. Rzhevsky presented a seminar at the University at Buffalo entitled "The December 7, 1988 Spitak (Armenia) Earthquake: The Results of Analysis of Structural Behavior." Dr. Rzhevsky is a visiting research professor at NCEER.

The magnitude 6.9 Spitak (Armenia) earthquake of December 7, 1988 caused massive loss of life and extensive damage throughout the earthquake's epicentral region. Dr. Rzhevsky reviewed observations of building performance during this earthquake, and presented an assessment of the earthquake's intensity and seismologic characteristics. He discussed the lessons learned about the performance of various types of buildings, including masonry-bearing wall structures, precast-concrete frames, lift-slab buildings, and industrial precast-concrete structures. Click here to return to the Table of Contents

Forecasting Very Large Earthquakes

On November 27, 1995, Dr. David Jackson presented a seminar at the University at Buffalo entitled "Forecasting Very Large Earthquakes." Dr. Jackson is a professor of geophysics at the University of California at Los Angeles.

The frequency of very large earthquakes is one of the most important unknowns in earthquake hazard studies: it largely controls the rate of moderate to large earthquakes, and it determines the probability of severe damage. Common methods of seismic hazard analysis that involve assumptions about earthquake magnitudes and fault lengths, geological slip rates, and magnitude distribution along faults, do little in helping to forecast large events, and often produce earthquake rate estimates that grossly exceed the observed earthquake rate. An alternative method of analysis, involving historical records of small and intermediate earthquakes and maximum magnitude needed to fit the total geologic slip rate on all faults within a region, seems to better estimate earthquake rates and perhaps may be an adequate indicator of the rate of moderate earthquakes. Dr. Jackson reviewed these two methods of seismic hazard analysis, and discussed various conflicting assumptions that presented problems in forecasting large seismic events. He also discussed the importance of understanding how the conflict in these assumptions impacts current national efforts to characterize regional seismic risk for zoning maps.

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