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University of Nevada, Reno

Hospital Clinica Herminda Martin, Chillán


The hospital complex in Chillán included a 1994 six-story reinforced concrete building that was partly functional after the earthquake. The structure performed well with the only apparent structural concern being a residual displacement at an expansion joint to an area housing the elevators and a room. As was common in most buildings examined, pounding at the joint was evident with large openings as the finish material was damaged (Figure 1). Nonstructural damage was widespread and included several systems. After losing power from grid during the earthquake, only one of two generators started automatically. The second one had to be started manually and did function thereafter. However, only the third floor was able to receive power; it was suspected that all other floors had short circuits. The second floor mechanical room had various types of damaged hangers with some bent out of shape while anchor bolts pulled out from the concrete slab/beam above for others (Figure 2). Evidently, elevator electric motors above the 6th level were not anchored to their concrete platform and came close to falling off (Figure 3). The counterweights remained in place but impacted and deformed the rail (Figure 4).

Cracks to masonry partitions were widespread, with most cracks appearing to be artificial on the plaster cover (Figure 5). As was typical in many buildings, suspended ceilings did not perform well but no seismic detailing seemed to have been implemented (Figure 6). Cracks also formed in surgery rooms, rendering them useless (Figure 7), while apparently the surgery equipment such as lamps anchored to the ceiling were not damaged. At the time of the visit, a small addition to the hospital was under construction with walls made from gypsum on light gauge steel framing; no crack were apparent in these rooms.

Figure 1: Pounding at the joint was evident with large openings as the finish material was damaged

Figure 2: The second floor mechanical room had various types of damaged hangers with some bent out of shape

Figure 3: Evidently, elevator electric motors above the 6th level were not anchored to their concrete platform and came close to falling off.

Figure 4: The counterweights remained in place but impacted and deformed the rail.

Figure 5: Cracks to masonry partitions were widespread, with most cracks appearing to be artificial on the plaster cover.

Figure 6: As was typical in many buildings, suspended ceilings did not perform well but no seismic detailing seemed to have been implemented.

Figure 7: Cracks also formed in surgery rooms, rendering them useless, while apparently the surgery equipment such as lamps anchored to the ceiling were not damaged.


Report and photos submitted by Gilberto Mosqueda
Date: March 12, 2010