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.
On the evening of April 16th, 2016, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck northern Ecuador, offshore from its west coast. The event drew the attention of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association, due to the several hundred casualties, tens of thousands homeless, and destruction along the west coast, with evidence of severe ground motions and geotechnical failures.
Jessica Mandrick presented at the SEAOC Technical Session on the recent Taiwan Meinong earthquake.
Jessica Mandrick, SE presented fifth in the Session titled Learning from the 2014 South Napa and 2016 Tainan Earthquakes during the 2016 Annual Conference of the Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC), October 12-15 in Ka’anapali Beach, Maui. The focus of this session was to highlight the lessons learned during the GMS and USGS reconnaissance trip to Tainan, which took place in February 2016 in collaboration with EERI, ATC, and NCREE. The team visited the city of Tainan and its vicinity to survey, study, and document damage and site-related observations from the recent 6.4 Meinong Earthquake. The focus of the paper/presentation included observed design and construction issues as well as the societal response to the earthquake.
GMS is very excited to announce that we are now a continuing education provider in The American Institute of Architects Continuing Education System.
Our first course, Understanding Resilience through a Musical Analogy can be presented in person by Ramon Gilsanz, author of the STRUCTURE magazine article upon which this presentation is based. The course is accredited for 1 Learning Unit of Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW)-related training (1LU/HSW).
Ramon Gilsanz represented GMS at the first International Conference on Natural Hazards and Infrastructure (ICONHIC) on June 28-30 2016 in Chania, Greece.