On Friday, the members of the ATC reconnaissance team reviewed their individual observations. Specific buildings were also identified for ongoing monitoring.
On Thursday Laura’s team continued its route around the southern neighborhoods. They continuously saw buildings with nonstructural masonry infill walls that seemed to have acted as lateral resisting elements, evident by the in-plane damage.
On Wednesday, the ATC reconnaissance team sub-groups were rearranged. Ramon and Jennifer’s group visited the Condesa neighborhood in the northern part of the city. Here the team assessed two buildings, one of which suffered some damage, and the other nearly none. Another group, including Laura Hernandez, focused on the southern area of Mexico City where they saw several structures with distinct damage
GMS engineers and the other members of the Applied Technology Council (ATC) reconnaissance team arrived in Mexico City and coordinated their plan of action to study the effects of the 9/19/2017 earthquake on building structures. The first morning, they met at the WSP office to organize the reconnaissance for that day. In order to maximize the use of the researchers’ time, the team was divided into three smaller groups. Each went to a different section in the city to evaluate damage.
GMS engineers departed for Mexico City on Monday to be joined by remaining members of the Applied Technology Council (ATC) reconnaissance team reviewing the aftermath of the 9/19/2017 earthquake. The goal of this reconnaissance mission is to perform detailed assessments of reinforced concrete structures with all levels of damage. The reconnaissance will focus on identifying the likely cause of collapse in concrete buildings that performed poorly, and the likely cause of good performance in non-collapsed buildings in the immediate vicinity.
Mexico is one of the world’s most seismically active regions, sitting atop several intersecting tectonic plates. On September 19, 2017, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit the Greater Mexico City area killing 370 people and collapsing 40 buildings. The quake occurred on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which killed around 10,000 people. The 1985 quake was commemorated, and a national earthquake drill was held, at 11 a.m. local time, just two hours before the 2017 earthquake. Twelve days earlier, the even larger 2017 Chiapas earthquake struck 400 miles away, off the coast of the state of Chiapas.
In support of ongoing U.S. Government-funded research and development projects in earthquake engineering, the Applied Technology Council (ATC) Endowment Fund is sponsoring a team of experts to investigate the performance of buildings in Mexico City following the event.
Several of our engineers ventured to Denver, CO, to present their papers, studies and projects at this year’s Structures Congress. The congress is organized annually by the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The 16th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, organized by the International Association of Earthquake Engineering took place from 9th January to the 13th January 2017 in Santiago, Chile. The conference covered engineering seismology, tsunamis, geotechnical earthquake engineering, design of new structures, assessment and retrofitting of existing structures, infrastructure and lifeline systems, preparedness and emergency management of large earthquakes, as well as social and economic aspects, and urban risk assessment.
GMS Associate Jessica Mandrick wrote an opinion in the STRUCTURE magazine column, Structural Forum.
Natural disasters devastate communities, destroy structures, halt livelihoods, and take lives. With each event, engineers aim to improve our practices to lessen the impact of future incidents. Reconnaissance trips following natural or manmade disasters can provide a valuable education.
On October 18, 2016, Ramon Gilsanz of GMS presented to the members of the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) about global trends in earthquake design and resilience.
The lecture looked at common features of buildings in a variety of regions across the world which are prone to earthquakes. Such features include weak ground stories, considerations for adding new floors, alterations and enlargement of existing buildings and the potential for soil failures like liquefaction and lateral spreading. Using his experience from earthquake reconnaissance trips to Chile, Virginia, Greece, Taiwan and Ecuador, Mr. Gilsanz then discussed the impact of resilience in structures, specifically how to apply lessons from other cultures to improve the built environment here in New York City. He concluded with a review of the NYC Building Code provisions for resilience.