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.