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Thomas D. O'Rourke head shot

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY



Third Japan-U.S. Workshop on Earthquake Resistant Design of Lifeline Facilities and Countermeasures for Soil Liquefaction

The Third Japan-U.S. Workshop on Earthquake Resistant Design of Lifeline Facilities and Countermeasures for Soil Liquefaction, sponsored by NCEER, was held in San Francisco, California on December 17-19, 1990. The workshop has resulted in significant new findings about the ways in which large ground deformations are caused by soil liquefaction, their influence on lifelines, and the most effective means of modeling and protecting both soils and structures in the event of a future earthquake. Among the highlights of the workshop were the introduction of new analytical models for predicting the magnitude and pattern of ground movement triggered by liquefaction, recent findings of shake table and centrifuge testing, and case history investigations, including studies focused on the 1989 Loma Prieta and 1990 Philippines earthquakes.

Over 90 representatives of U.S. and Japan academic, construction, design and governmental institutions attended. There was strong participation by governmental and utility agencies within the San Francisco Bay region, including USGS, CALTRANS, East Bay Municipal Utility District, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and the Engineer’s Office, Fire Department, Water Department, and Clean Waters Program of San Francisco.
The workshop was not only an international event, but a forum for Bay Area engineers and utility personnel. These participants were afforded the opportunity to learn about state-of-the-art developments and to participate in the presentations and discussions as experienced members of a community which must implement seismic resistant design of lifeline facilities and countermeasures for soil liquefaction. The results of case history studies and analytical modeling presented at the workshop are being used in a major geotechnical and lifeline evaluation currently in progress for the City of San Francisco.

The workshop was part of a U.S.-Japan cooperative research program sponsored by NCEER, involving over 20 university, utility, design and governmental agencies from each of the U.S. and Japanese sides. The program was initiated formally in November, 1988 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Japanese and U.S. sides. The document was signed at a ceremony during a workshop in Tokyo, Japan by K. Kubo, Professor Emeritus of Tokyo University and M. Shinozuka, Sollenberger Professor of Civil Engineering at Princeton University. Professor Kubo signed on behalf of the Association for the Development of Earthquake Prediction (ADEP), the Japanese sponsoring agency. Professor Shinozuka signed on behalf of Robert L. Ketter, then Director of NCEER, the U.S. sponsoring agency. A second Memorandum of Understanding was signed at this workshop to continue the cooperative program of research. The signatures were K. Kubo, representing ADEP, and M. Shinozuka, the Director of NCEER.

The research program concentrates on case histories of both ground deformations and ground movement effects on lifeline facilities. The case histories are being collected in two volumes and will be published as part of a joint U.S.-Japan effort. The earthquakes included in the U.S. case history summary are: 1906 San Francisco, 1964 Alaska, 1971 San Fernando, 1979 Imperial Valley, and 1989 Loma Prieta earthquakes. The earthquakes included in the Japanese case history summary are: 1923 Kanto, 1948 Fukui, 1964 Nigata, 1983 Nihonkai-Cubu and 1990 Philippine earthquakes. The U.S. and Japanese case history studies are being coordinated by Professor T.D. O’Rourke of Cornell University and Professor M. Hamada of Tokai University.

Program workshops are major instruments for collaboration and cooperative exchange. To date, there have been three such workshops. Proceedings include 40 papers on topics including: ground deformation and lifeline performance during past earthquakes; analytical and experimental modeling of soil liquefaction; seismic analysis of lifelines and earthquake resistant design; and earthquake countermeasures and emergency response.