Earthquake engineering

Earthquake engineering is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering that designs and analyzes structures, such as buildings and bridges, with earthquakes in mind. Its overall goal is to make such structures more resistant to earthquakes. An earthquake (or seismic) engineer aims to construct structures that will not be damaged in minor shaking and will avoid serious damage or collapse in a major earthquake. Earthquake engineering is the scientific field concerned with protecting society, the natural environment, and the man-made environment from earthquakes by limiting the seismic risk to socio-economically acceptable levels.[1] Traditionally, it has been narrowly defined as the study of the behavior of structures and geo-structures subject to seismic loading; it is considered as a subset of structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, applied physics, etc. However, the tremendous costs experienced in recent earthquakes have led to an expansion of its scope to encompass disciplines from the wider field of civil engineering, mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, and from the social sciences, especially sociology, political science, economics, and finance.

The main objectives of earthquake engineering are:

  • Foresee the potential consequences of strong earthquakes on urban areas and civil infrastructure.
  • Design, construct and maintain structures to perform at earthquake exposure up to the expectations and in compliance with building codes.[2]

A properly engineered structure does not necessarily have to be extremely strong or expensive. It has to be properly designed to withstand the seismic effects while sustaining an acceptable level of damage.

Snapshot of earthquake-like crash testing
Shake-table crash testing of a regular building model (left) and a base-isolated building model (right)[3] at UCSD

Seismic loading

Seismic loading means application of an earthquake-generated excitation on a structure (or geo-structure). It happens at contact surfaces of a structure either with the ground,[4] with adjacent structures,[5] or with gravity waves from tsunami. The loading that is expected at a given location on the Earth's surface is estimated by engineering seismology. It is related to the seismic hazard of the location.

Seismic performance

Earthquake or seismic performance defines a structure's ability to sustain its main functions, such as its safety and serviceability, at and after a particular earthquake exposure. A structure is normally considered safe if it does not endanger the lives and well-being of those in or around it by partially or completely collapsing. A structure may be considered serviceable if it is able to fulfill its operational functions for which it was designed.

Basic concepts of the earthquake engineering, implemented in the major building codes, assume that a building should survive a rare, very severe earthquake by sustaining significant damage but without globally collapsing.[6] On the other hand, it should remain operational for more frequent, but less severe seismic events.

Seismic performance assessment

Engineers need to know the quantified level of the actual or anticipated seismic performance associated with the direct damage to an individual building subject to a specified ground shaking. Such an assessment may be performed either experimentally or analytically.

Experimental assessment

Experimental evaluations are expensive tests that are typically done by placing a (scaled) model of the structure on a shake-table that simulates the earth shaking and observing its behavior.[7] Such kinds of experiments were first performed more than a century ago.[8] Only recently has it become possible to perform 1:1 scale testing on full structures.

Due to the costly nature of such tests, they tend to be used mainly for understanding the seismic behavior of structures, validating models and verifying analysis methods. Thus, once properly validated, computational models and numerical procedures tend to carry the major burden for the seismic performance assessment of structures.

Analytical/Numerical assessment

Shaking NDC
Snapshot from shake-table video of a 6-story non-ductile concrete building destructive testing

Seismic performance assessment or seismic structural analysis is a powerful tool of earthquake engineering which utilizes detailed modelling of the structure together with methods of structural analysis to gain a better understanding of seismic performance of building and non-building structures. The technique as a formal concept is a relatively recent development.

In general, seismic structural analysis is based on the methods of structural dynamics.[9] For decades, the most prominent instrument of seismic analysis has been the earthquake response spectrum method which also contributed to the proposed building code's concept of today.[10]

However, such methods are good only for linear elastic systems, being largely unable to model the structural behavior when damage (i.e., non-linearity) appears. Numerical step-by-step integration proved to be a more effective method of analysis for multi-degree-of-freedom structural systems with significant non-linearity under a transient process of ground motion excitation.[11] Use of the finite element method is one of the most common approaches for analyzing non-linear soil structure interaction computer models.

Basically, numerical analysis is conducted in order to evaluate the seismic performance of buildings. Performance evaluations are generally carried out by using nonlinear static pushover analysis or nonlinear time-history analysis. In such analyses, it is essential to achieve accurate non-linear modeling of structural components such as beams, columns, beam-column joints, shear walls etc. Thus, experimental results play an important role in determining the modeling parameters of individual components, especially those that are subject to significant non-linear deformations. The individual components are then assembled to create a full non-linear model of the structure. Thus created models are analyzed to evaluate the performance of buildings.

The capabilities of the structural analysis software are a major consideration in the above process as they restrict the possible component models, the analysis methods available and, most importantly, the numerical robustness. The latter becomes a major consideration for structures that venture into the non-linear range and approach global or local collapse as the numerical solution becomes increasingly unstable and thus difficult to reach. There are several commercially available Finite Element Analysis software's such as CSI-SAP2000 and CSI-PERFORM-3D, MTR/SASSI, Scia Engineer-ECtools, ABAQUS, and Ansys, all of which can be used for the seismic performance evaluation of buildings. Moreover, there is research-based finite element analysis platforms such as OpenSees, MASTODON, which is based on the MOOSE Framework, RUAUMOKO and the older DRAIN-2D/3D, several of which are now open source.

Research for earthquake engineering

Research for earthquake engineering means both field and analytical investigation or experimentation intended for discovery and scientific explanation of earthquake engineering related facts, revision of conventional concepts in the light of new findings, and practical application of the developed theories.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the main United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all fields of earthquake engineering. In particular, it focuses on experimental, analytical and computational research on design and performance enhancement of structural systems.

E-Defense Shake Table
E-Defense Shake Table[12]

The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is a leader in dissemination of earthquake engineering research related information both in the U.S. and globally.

A definitive list of earthquake engineering research related shaking tables around the world may be found in Experimental Facilities for Earthquake Engineering Simulation Worldwide.[13] The most prominent of them is now E-Defense Shake Table[14] in Japan.

Major U.S. research programs

Large High Performance Outdoor Shake Table
Large High Performance Outdoor Shake Table, UCSD, NEES network

NSF also supports the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation

The NSF Hazard Mitigation and Structural Engineering program (HMSE) supports research on new technologies for improving the behavior and response of structural systems subject to earthquake hazards; fundamental research on safety and reliability of constructed systems; innovative developments in analysis and model based simulation of structural behavior and response including soil-structure interaction; design concepts that improve structure performance and flexibility; and application of new control techniques for structural systems.[15]

(NEES) that advances knowledge discovery and innovation for earthquakes and tsunami loss reduction of the nation's civil infrastructure and new experimental simulation techniques and instrumentation.[16]

The NEES network features 14 geographically-distributed, shared-use laboratories that support several types of experimental work:[16] geotechnical centrifuge research, shake-table tests, large-scale structural testing, tsunami wave basin experiments, and field site research.[17] Participating universities include: Cornell University; Lehigh University; Oregon State University; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; University at Buffalo, State University of New York; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Davis; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Diego; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; University of Minnesota; University of Nevada, Reno; and the University of Texas, Austin.[16]

Seismic Testing of Crane
NEES at Buffalo testing facility

The equipment sites (labs) and a central data repository are connected to the global earthquake engineering community via the NEEShub website. The NEES website is powered by HUBzero software developed at Purdue University for nanoHUB specifically to help the scientific community share resources and collaborate. The cyberinfrastructure, connected via Internet2, provides interactive simulation tools, a simulation tool development area, a curated central data repository, animated presentations, user support, telepresence, mechanism for uploading and sharing resources, and statistics about users and usage patterns.

This cyberinfrastructure allows researchers to: securely store, organize and share data within a standardized framework in a central location; remotely observe and participate in experiments through the use of synchronized real-time data and video; collaborate with colleagues to facilitate the planning, performance, analysis, and publication of research experiments; and conduct computational and hybrid simulations that may combine the results of multiple distributed experiments and link physical experiments with computer simulations to enable the investigation of overall system performance.

These resources jointly provide the means for collaboration and discovery to improve the seismic design and performance of civil and mechanical infrastructure systems.

Earthquake simulation

The very first earthquake simulations were performed by statically applying some horizontal inertia forces based on scaled peak ground accelerations to a mathematical model of a building.[18] With the further development of computational technologies, static approaches began to give way to dynamic ones.

Dynamic experiments on building and non-building structures may be physical, like shake-table testing, or virtual ones. In both cases, to verify a structure's expected seismic performance, some researchers prefer to deal with so called "real time-histories" though the last cannot be "real" for a hypothetical earthquake specified by either a building code or by some particular research requirements. Therefore, there is a strong incentive to engage an earthquake simulation which is the seismic input that possesses only essential features of a real event.

Sometimes earthquake simulation is understood as a re-creation of local effects of a strong earth shaking.

Structure simulation

Kinematically equivalent building models on a shake-table
Concurrent experiments with two building models which are kinematically equivalent to a real prototype.[19]

Theoretical or experimental evaluation of anticipated seismic performance mostly requires a structure simulation which is based on the concept of structural likeness or similarity. Similarity is some degree of analogy or resemblance between two or more objects. The notion of similarity rests either on exact or approximate repetitions of patterns in the compared items.

In general, a building model is said to have similarity with the real object if the two share geometric similarity, kinematic similarity and dynamic similarity. The most vivid and effective type of similarity is the kinematic one. Kinematic similarity exists when the paths and velocities of moving particles of a model and its prototype are similar.

The ultimate level of kinematic similarity is kinematic equivalence when, in the case of earthquake engineering, time-histories of each story lateral displacements of the model and its prototype would be the same.

Seismic vibration control

Seismic vibration control is a set of technical means aimed to mitigate seismic impacts in building and non-building structures. All seismic vibration control devices may be classified as passive, active or hybrid[20] where:

  • passive control devices have no feedback capability between them, structural elements and the ground;
  • active control devices incorporate real-time recording instrumentation on the ground integrated with earthquake input processing equipment and actuators within the structure;
  • hybrid control devices have combined features of active and passive control systems.[21]

When ground seismic waves reach up and start to penetrate a base of a building, their energy flow density, due to reflections, reduces dramatically: usually, up to 90%. However, the remaining portions of the incident waves during a major earthquake still bear a huge devastating potential.

After the seismic waves enter a superstructure, there are a number of ways to control them in order to soothe their damaging effect and improve the building's seismic performance, for instance:

Cyrus tomb
Mausoleum of Cyrus, the oldest base-isolated structure in the world

Devices of the last kind, abbreviated correspondingly as TMD for the tuned (passive), as AMD for the active, and as HMD for the hybrid mass dampers, have been studied and installed in high-rise buildings, predominantly in Japan, for a quarter of a century.[23]

However, there is quite another approach: partial suppression of the seismic energy flow into the superstructure known as seismic or base isolation.

For this, some pads are inserted into or under all major load-carrying elements in the base of the building which should substantially decouple a superstructure from its substructure resting on a shaking ground.

The first evidence of earthquake protection by using the principle of base isolation was discovered in Pasargadae, a city in ancient Persia, now Iran, and dates back to the 6th century BCE. Below, there are some samples of seismic vibration control technologies of today.

Dry-stone walls control

Machupicchu intihuatana
Dry-stone walls of Machu Picchu Temple of the Sun, Peru

People of Inca civilization were masters of the polished 'dry-stone walls', called ashlar, where blocks of stone were cut to fit together tightly without any mortar. The Incas were among the best stonemasons the world has ever seen[24] and many junctions in their masonry were so perfect that even blades of grass could not fit between the stones.

Peru is a highly seismic land and for centuries the mortar-free construction proved to be apparently more earthquake-resistant than using mortar. The stones of the dry-stone walls built by the Incas could move slightly and resettle without the walls collapsing, a passive structural control technique employing both the principle of energy dissipation (coulomb damping) and that of suppressing resonant amplifications.[25]

Tuned mass damper

Taipei 101 Tuned Mass Damper
Tuned mass damper in Taipei 101, the world's third tallest skyscraper

Typically the tuned mass dampers are huge concrete blocks mounted in skyscrapers or other structures and move in opposition to the resonance frequency oscillations of the structures by means of some sort of spring mechanism.

The Taipei 101 skyscraper needs to withstand typhoon winds and earthquake tremors common in this area of Asia/Pacific. For this purpose, a steel pendulum weighing 660 metric tonnes that serves as a tuned mass damper was designed and installed atop the structure. Suspended from the 92nd to the 88th floor, the pendulum sways to decrease resonant amplifications of lateral displacements in the building caused by earthquakes and strong gusts.

Hysteretic dampers

A hysteretic damper is intended to provide better and more reliable seismic performance than that of a conventional structure by increasing the dissipation of seismic input energy.[26] There are five major groups of hysteretic dampers used for the purpose, namely:

  • Fluid viscous dampers (FVDs)

Viscous Dampers have the benefit of being a supplemental damping system. They have an oval hysteretic loop and the damping is velocity dependent. While some minor maintenance is potentially required, viscous dampers generally do not need to be replaced after an earthquake. While more expensive than other damping technologies they can be used for both seismic and wind loads and are the most commonly used hysteretic damper.

  • Friction dampers (FDs)

Friction dampers tend to be available in two major types, linear and rotational and dissipate energy by heat. The damper operates on the principle of a coulomb damper. Depending on the design, friction dampers can experience stick-slip phenomenon and Cold welding. The main disadvantage being that friction surfaces can wear over time and for this reason they are not recommended for dissipating wind loads. When used in seismic applications wear is not a problem and there is no required maintenance. They have a rectangular hysteretic loop and as long as the building is sufficiently elastic they tend to settle back to their original positions after an earthquake.

  • Metallic yielding dampers (MYDs)

Metallic yielding dampers, as the name implies, yield in order to absorb the earthquake's energy. This type of damper absorbs a large amount of energy however they must be replaced after an earthquake and may prevent the building from settling back to its original position.

  • Viscoelastic dampers (VEDs)

Viscoelastic dampers are useful in that they can be used for both wind and seismic applications, they are usually limited to small displacements. There is some concern as to the reliability of the technology as some brands have been banned from use in buildings in the United States.

  • Straddling pendulum dampers (swing)

Base isolation

Base isolation seeks to prevent the kinetic energy of the earthquake from being transferred into elastic energy in the building. These technologies do so by isolating the structure from the ground, thus enabling them to move somewhat independently. The degree to which the energy is transferred into the structure and how the energy is dissipated will vary depending on the technology used.

  • Lead rubber bearing
LRB being tested at the UCSD Caltrans-SRMD facility

Lead rubber bearing or LRB is a type of base isolation employing a heavy damping. It was invented by Bill Robinson, a New Zealander.[27]

Heavy damping mechanism incorporated in vibration control technologies and, particularly, in base isolation devices, is often considered a valuable source of suppressing vibrations thus enhancing a building's seismic performance. However, for the rather pliant systems such as base isolated structures, with a relatively low bearing stiffness but with a high damping, the so-called "damping force" may turn out the main pushing force at a strong earthquake. The video[28] shows a Lead Rubber Bearing being tested at the UCSD Caltrans-SRMD facility. The bearing is made of rubber with a lead core. It was a uniaxial test in which the bearing was also under a full structure load. Many buildings and bridges, both in New Zealand and elsewhere, are protected with lead dampers and lead and rubber bearings. Te Papa Tongarewa, the national museum of New Zealand, and the New Zealand Parliament Buildings have been fitted with the bearings. Both are in Wellington which sits on an active fault.[27]

  • Springs-with-damper base isolator
GERB spring with damper
Springs-with-damper close-up

Springs-with-damper base isolator installed under a three-story town-house, Santa Monica, California is shown on the photo taken prior to the 1994 Northridge earthquake exposure. It is a base isolation device conceptually similar to Lead Rubber Bearing.

One of two three-story town-houses like this, which was well instrumented for recording of both vertical and horizontal accelerations on its floors and the ground, has survived a severe shaking during the Northridge earthquake and left valuable recorded information for further study.

  • Simple roller bearing

Simple roller bearing is a base isolation device which is intended for protection of various building and non-building structures against potentially damaging lateral impacts of strong earthquakes.

This metallic bearing support may be adapted, with certain precautions, as a seismic isolator to skyscrapers and buildings on soft ground. Recently, it has been employed under the name of metallic roller bearing for a housing complex (17 stories) in Tokyo, Japan.[29]

  • Friction pendulum bearing
FPB testing
FPB[30] shake-table testing

Friction pendulum bearing (FPB) is another name of friction pendulum system (FPS). It is based on three pillars:[31]

  • articulated friction slider;
  • spherical concave sliding surface;
  • enclosing cylinder for lateral displacement restraint.

Snapshot with the link to video clip of a shake-table testing of FPB system supporting a rigid building model is presented at the right.

Seismic design

Seismic design is based on authorized engineering procedures, principles and criteria meant to design or retrofit structures subject to earthquake exposure.[18] Those criteria are only consistent with the contemporary state of the knowledge about earthquake engineering structures.[32] Therefore, a building design which exactly follows seismic code regulations does not guarantee safety against collapse or serious damage.[33]

The price of poor seismic design may be enormous. Nevertheless, seismic design has always been a trial and error process whether it was based on physical laws or on empirical knowledge of the structural performance of different shapes and materials.

San Francisco in ruins view from Captive Airship above Folsom 1906
San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and fire

To practice seismic design, seismic analysis or seismic evaluation of new and existing civil engineering projects, an engineer should, normally, pass examination on Seismic Principles[34] which, in the State of California, include:

  • Seismic Data and Seismic Design Criteria
  • Seismic Characteristics of Engineered Systems
  • Seismic Forces
  • Seismic Analysis Procedures
  • Seismic Detailing and Construction Quality Control

To build up complex structural systems,[35] seismic design largely uses the same relatively small number of basic structural elements (to say nothing of vibration control devices) as any non-seismic design project.

Normally, according to building codes, structures are designed to "withstand" the largest earthquake of a certain probability that is likely to occur at their location. This means the loss of life should be minimized by preventing collapse of the buildings.

Seismic design is carried out by understanding the possible failure modes of a structure and providing the structure with appropriate strength, stiffness, ductility, and configuration[36] to ensure those modes cannot occur.

Seismic design requirements

Seismic design requirements depend on the type of the structure, locality of the project and its authorities which stipulate applicable seismic design codes and criteria.[6] For instance, California Department of Transportation's requirements called The Seismic Design Criteria (SDC) and aimed at the design of new bridges in California[37] incorporate an innovative seismic performance-based approach.

The most significant feature in the SDC design philosophy is a shift from a force-based assessment of seismic demand to a displacement-based assessment of demand and capacity. Thus, the newly adopted displacement approach is based on comparing the elastic displacement demand to the inelastic displacement capacity of the primary structural components while ensuring a minimum level of inelastic capacity at all potential plastic hinge locations.

In addition to the designed structure itself, seismic design requirements may include a ground stabilization underneath the structure: sometimes, heavily shaken ground breaks up which leads to collapse of the structure sitting upon it.[39] The following topics should be of primary concerns: liquefaction; dynamic lateral earth pressures on retaining walls; seismic slope stability; earthquake-induced settlement.[40]

Nuclear facilities should not jeopardise their safety in case of earthquakes or other hostile external events. Therefore, their seismic design is based on criteria far more stringent than those applying to non-nuclear facilities.[41] The Fukushima I nuclear accidents and damage to other nuclear facilities that followed the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami have, however, drawn attention to ongoing concerns over Japanese nuclear seismic design standards and caused other many governments to re-evaluate their nuclear programs. Doubt has also been expressed over the seismic evaluation and design of certain other plants, including the Fessenheim Nuclear Power Plant in France.

Failure modes

Failure mode is the manner by which an earthquake induced failure is observed. It, generally, describes the way the failure occurs. Though costly and time consuming, learning from each real earthquake failure remains a routine recipe for advancement in seismic design methods. Below, some typical modes of earthquake-generated failures are presented.

Typical damage to unreinforced masonry buildings at earthquakes

The lack of reinforcement coupled with poor mortar and inadequate roof-to-wall ties can result in substantial damage to an unreinforced masonry building. Severely cracked or leaning walls are some of the most common earthquake damage. Also hazardous is the damage that may occur between the walls and roof or floor diaphragms. Separation between the framing and the walls can jeopardize the vertical support of roof and floor systems.

Soft story collapse due to inadequate shear strength at ground level, Loma Prieta earthquake

Soft story effect. Absence of adequate stiffness on the ground level caused damage to this structure. A close examination of the image reveals that the rough board siding, once covered by a brick veneer, has been completely dismantled from the studwall. Only the rigidity of the floor above combined with the support on the two hidden sides by continuous walls, not penetrated with large doors as on the street sides, is preventing full collapse of the structure.

Soil liquefaction. In the cases where the soil consists of loose granular deposited materials with the tendency to develop excessive hydrostatic pore water pressure of sufficient magnitude and compact, liquefaction of those loose saturated deposits may result in non-uniform settlements and tilting of structures. This caused major damage to thousands of buildings in Niigata, Japan during the 1964 earthquake.[42]

Smashed Car in Dujiangyan - 2008 Sichuan earthquake (1)
Car smashed by landslide rock, 2008 Sichuan earthquake

Landslide rock fall. A landslide is a geological phenomenon which includes a wide range of ground movement, including rock falls. Typically, the action of gravity is the primary driving force for a landslide to occur though in this case there was another contributing factor which affected the original slope stability: the landslide required an earthquake trigger before being released.

St.Joseph'sSeminary Los Altos USGS
Effects of pounding against adjacent building, Loma Prieta

Pounding against adjacent building. This is a photograph of the collapsed five-story tower, St. Joseph's Seminary, Los Altos, California which resulted in one fatality. During Loma Prieta earthquake, the tower pounded against the independently vibrating adjacent building behind. A possibility of pounding depends on both buildings' lateral displacements which should be accurately estimated and accounted for.

Kaiser Permanente Building After Northridge Earthquake
Effects of completely shattered joints of concrete frame, Northridge

At Northridge earthquake, the Kaiser Permanente concrete frame office building had joints completely shattered, revealing inadequate confinement steel, which resulted in the second story collapse. In the transverse direction, composite end shear walls, consisting of two wythes of brick and a layer of shotcrete that carried the lateral load, peeled apart because of inadequate through-ties and failed.

Shifting from foundation
shifting from foundation, Whittier

Sliding off foundations effect of a relatively rigid residential building structure during 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake. The magnitude 5.9 earthquake pounded the Garvey West Apartment building in Monterey Park, California and shifted its superstructure about 10 inches to the east on its foundation.

Casa en frente de Playa Principal de Pichilemu, destruida
Earthquake damage in Pichilemu.

If a superstructure is not mounted on a base isolation system, its shifting on the basement should be prevented.

Northridge earthquake 10 frwy2
Insufficient shear reinforcement let main rebars to buckle, Northridge

Reinforced concrete column burst at Northridge earthquake due to insufficient shear reinforcement mode which allows main reinforcement to buckle outwards. The deck unseated at the hinge and failed in shear. As a result, the La Cienega-Venice underpass section of the 10 Freeway collapsed.

Support-columns and upper deck failure, Loma Prieta earthquake

Loma Prieta earthquake: side view of reinforced concrete support-columns failure which triggered the upper deck collapse onto the lower deck of the two-level Cypress viaduct of Interstate Highway 880, Oakland, CA.

Retaining wall failure.jpeg
Failure of retaining wall due to ground movement, Loma Prieta

Retaining wall failure at Loma Prieta earthquake in Santa Cruz Mountains area: prominent northwest-trending extensional cracks up to 12 cm (4.7 in) wide in the concrete spillway to Austrian Dam, the north abutment.

Ground failure.jpeg
Lateral spreading mode of ground failure, Loma Prieta

Ground shaking triggered soil liquefaction in a subsurface layer of sand, producing differential lateral and vertical movement in an overlying carapace of unliquified sand and silt. This mode of ground failure, termed lateral spreading, is a principal cause of liquefaction-related earthquake damage.[43]

ADBC Branch in BeiChuan after earthquake
Beams and pier columns diagonal cracking, 2008 Sichuan earthquake

Severely damaged building of Agriculture Development Bank of China after 2008 Sichuan earthquake: most of the beams and pier columns are sheared. Large diagonal cracks in masonry and veneer are due to in-plane loads while abrupt settlement of the right end of the building should be attributed to a landfill which may be hazardous even without any earthquake.[44]

Twofold tsunami impact: sea waves hydraulic pressure and inundation. Thus, the Indian Ocean earthquake of December 26, 2004, with the epicenter off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, triggered a series of devastating tsunamis, killing more than 230,000 people in eleven countries by inundating surrounding coastal communities with huge waves up to 30 meters (100 feet) high.[46]

Earthquake-resistant construction

Earthquake construction means implementation of seismic design to enable building and non-building structures to live through the anticipated earthquake exposure up to the expectations and in compliance with the applicable building codes.

2009 03 03 Pearl River Tower
Construction of Pearl River Tower X-bracing to resist lateral forces of earthquakes and winds

Design and construction are intimately related. To achieve a good workmanship, detailing of the members and their connections should be as simple as possible. As any construction in general, earthquake construction is a process that consists of the building, retrofitting or assembling of infrastructure given the construction materials available.[47]

The destabilizing action of an earthquake on constructions may be direct (seismic motion of the ground) or indirect (earthquake-induced landslides, soil liquefaction and waves of tsunami).

A structure might have all the appearances of stability, yet offer nothing but danger when an earthquake occurs.[48] The crucial fact is that, for safety, earthquake-resistant construction techniques are as important as quality control and using correct materials. Earthquake contractor should be registered in the state/province/country of the project location (depending on local regulations), bonded and insured.

To minimize possible losses, construction process should be organized with keeping in mind that earthquake may strike any time prior to the end of construction.

Each construction project requires a qualified team of professionals who understand the basic features of seismic performance of different structures as well as construction management.

Adobe structures

Adobe structure
Partially collapsed adobe building in Westmorland, California

Around thirty percent of the world's population lives or works in earth-made construction.[49] Adobe type of mud bricks is one of the oldest and most widely used building materials. The use of adobe is very common in some of the world's most hazard-prone regions, traditionally across Latin America, Africa, Indian subcontinent and other parts of Asia, Middle East and Southern Europe.

Adobe buildings are considered very vulnerable at strong quakes.[50] However, multiple ways of seismic strengthening of new and existing adobe buildings are available.[51]

Key factors for the improved seismic performance of adobe construction are:

  • Quality of construction.
  • Compact, box-type layout.
  • Seismic reinforcement.[52]

Limestone and sandstone structures

Base-isolated City and County Building, Salt Lake City, Utah

Limestone is very common in architecture, especially in North America and Europe. Many landmarks across the world are made of limestone. Many medieval churches and castles in Europe are made of limestone and sandstone masonry. They are the long-lasting materials but their rather heavy weight is not beneficial for adequate seismic performance.

Application of modern technology to seismic retrofitting can enhance the survivability of unreinforced masonry structures. As an example, from 1973 to 1989, the Salt Lake City and County Building in Utah was exhaustively renovated and repaired with an emphasis on preserving historical accuracy in appearance. This was done in concert with a seismic upgrade that placed the weak sandstone structure on base isolation foundation to better protect it from earthquake damage.

Timber frame structures

Anne Hvides Gaard Svendborg
Anne Hvide's House, Denmark (1560)

Timber framing dates back thousands of years, and has been used in many parts of the world during various periods such as ancient Japan, Europe and medieval England in localities where timber was in good supply and building stone and the skills to work it were not.

The use of timber framing in buildings provides their complete skeletal framing which offers some structural benefits as the timber frame, if properly engineered, lends itself to better seismic survivability.[53]

Light-frame structures

Wood-framed house
A two-story wooden-frame for a residential building structure

Light-frame structures usually gain seismic resistance from rigid plywood shear walls and wood structural panel diaphragms.[54] Special provisions for seismic load-resisting systems for all engineered wood structures requires consideration of diaphragm ratios, horizontal and vertical diaphragm shears, and connector/fastener values. In addition, collectors, or drag struts, to distribute shear along a diaphragm length are required.

Reinforced masonry structures

Reinforced hollow masonry wall

A construction system where steel reinforcement is embedded in the mortar joints of masonry or placed in holes and after filled with concrete or grout is called reinforced masonry.[55]

The devastating 1933 Long Beach earthquake revealed that masonry construction should be improved immediately. Then, the California State Code made the reinforced masonry mandatory.

There are various practices and techniques to achieve reinforced masonry. The most common type is the reinforced hollow unit masonry. The effectiveness of both vertical and horizontal reinforcement strongly depends on the type and quality of the masonry, i.e. masonry units and mortar.

To achieve a ductile behavior of masonry, it is necessary that the shear strength of the wall is greater than the flexural strength.[56]

Reinforced concrete structures

Stressed Ribbon pedestrian bridge over the Rogue River, Grants Pass, Oregon
Prestressed concrete cable-stayed bridge over Yangtze river

Reinforced concrete is concrete in which steel reinforcement bars (rebars) or fibers have been incorporated to strengthen a material that would otherwise be brittle. It can be used to produce beams, columns, floors or bridges.

Prestressed concrete is a kind of reinforced concrete used for overcoming concrete's natural weakness in tension. It can be applied to beams, floors or bridges with a longer span than is practical with ordinary reinforced concrete. Prestressing tendons (generally of high tensile steel cable or rods) are used to provide a clamping load which produces a compressive stress that offsets the tensile stress that the concrete compression member would, otherwise, experience due to a bending load.

To prevent catastrophic collapse in response earth shaking (in the interest of life safety), a traditional reinforced concrete frame should have ductile joints. Depending upon the methods used and the imposed seismic forces, such buildings may be immediately usable, require extensive repair, or may have to be demolished.

Prestressed structures

Prestressed structure is the one whose overall integrity, stability and security depend, primarily, on a prestressing. Prestressing means the intentional creation of permanent stresses in a structure for the purpose of improving its performance under various service conditions.[57]

Roman Colosseum With Moon
Naturally pre-compressed exterior wall of Colosseum, Rome

There are the following basic types of prestressing:

  • Pre-compression (mostly, with the own weight of a structure)
  • Pretensioning with high-strength embedded tendons
  • Post-tensioning with high-strength bonded or unbonded tendons

Today, the concept of prestressed structure is widely engaged in design of buildings, underground structures, TV towers, power stations, floating storage and offshore facilities, nuclear reactor vessels, and numerous kinds of bridge systems.[58]

A beneficial idea of prestressing was, apparently, familiar to the ancient Rome architects; look, e.g., at the tall attic wall of Colosseum working as a stabilizing device for the wall piers beneath.

Steel structures

Collapsed section of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge in response to Loma Prieta earthquake

Steel structures are considered mostly earthquake resistant but some failures have occurred. A great number of welded steel moment-resisting frame buildings, which looked earthquake-proof, surprisingly experienced brittle behavior and were hazardously damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake.[59] After that, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) initiated development of repair techniques and new design approaches to minimize damage to steel moment frame buildings in future earthquakes.[60]

For structural steel seismic design based on Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) approach, it is very important to assess ability of a structure to develop and maintain its bearing resistance in the inelastic range. A measure of this ability is ductility, which may be observed in a material itself, in a structural element, or to a whole structure.

As a consequence of Northridge earthquake experience, the American Institute of Steel Construction has introduced AISC 358 "Pre-Qualified Connections for Special and intermediate Steel Moment Frames." The AISC Seismic Design Provisions require that all Steel Moment Resisting Frames employ either connections contained in AISC 358, or the use of connections that have been subjected to pre-qualifying cyclic testing.[61]

Prediction of earthquake losses

Earthquake loss estimation is usually defined as a Damage Ratio (DR) which is a ratio of the earthquake damage repair cost to the total value of a building.[62] Probable Maximum Loss (PML) is a common term used for earthquake loss estimation, but it lacks a precise definition. In 1999, ASTM E2026 'Standard Guide for the Estimation of Building Damageability in Earthquakes' was produced in order to standardize the nomenclature for seismic loss estimation, as well as establish guidelines as to the review process and qualifications of the reviewer.[63]

Earthquake loss estimations are also referred to as Seismic Risk Assessments. The risk assessment process generally involves determining the probability of various ground motions coupled with the vulnerability or damage of the building under those ground motions. The results are defined as a percent of building replacement value.[64]

See also


  1. ^ Bozorgnia, Yousef; Bertero, Vitelmo V. (2004). Earthquake Engineering: From Engineering Seismology to Performance-Based Engineering. CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-8493-1439-1.
  2. ^ Berg, Glen V. (1983). Seismic Design Codes and Procedures. EERI. ISBN 0-943198-25-9.
  3. ^ "Earthquake Protector: Shake Table Crash Testing". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  4. ^ "Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering".
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-10-30. Retrieved 2008-07-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b Seismology Committee (1999). Recommended Lateral Force Requirements and Commentary. Structural Engineers Association of California.
  7. ^ neesit (2007-11-17). "Shaking Table Test on Conventional Wooden House (1)". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  8. ^ Omori, F. (1900). Seismic Experiments on the Fracturing and Overturning of Columns. Publ. Earthquake Invest. Comm. In Foreign Languages, N.4, Tokyo.
  9. ^ Chopra, Anil K. (1995). Dynamics of Structures. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-855214-2.
  10. ^ Newmark, N.M.; Hall, W.J. (1982). Earthquake Spectra and Design. EERI. ISBN 0-943198-22-4.
  11. ^ Clough, Ray W.; Penzien, Joseph (1993). Dynamics of Structures. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-011394-7.
  12. ^ "Miki_house_test". YouTube. 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "The NIED 'E-Defence' Laboratory in Miki City]". Retrieved 3 March 2008.
  15. ^ "CMMI – Funding – Hazard Mitigation and Structural Engineering – US National Science Foundation (NSF)". Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  16. ^ a b c "Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation". Official web site. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  17. ^ [1] Archived May 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ a b Lindeburg, Michael R.; Baradar, Majid (2001). Seismic Design of Building Structures. Professional Publications. ISBN 1-888577-52-5.
  19. ^ "Base isolation for earthquake engineering". YouTube. 2007-06-27. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  20. ^ "Passive and active vibration isolation systems – Theory". Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  21. ^ Chu, S.Y.; Soong, T.T.; Reinhorn, A.M. (2005). Active, Hybrid and Semi-Active Structural Control. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-470-01352-4.
  22. ^ "Slide 2". Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  23. ^ "想いをかたちに 未来へつなぐ 竹中工務店".
  24. ^ "Live Event Q&As". Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  25. ^ "Clark, Liesl; "First Inhabitants"; PBS online, Nova; updated Nov. 2000". Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  26. ^ [2] Archived May 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ a b "4. Building for earthquake resistance – Earthquakes – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand". 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  28. ^ neesit (2007-07-10). "LBRtest". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  29. ^ "Building Technology + Seismic Isolation System – Okumura Corporation" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  30. ^ neesit (2007-04-19). "Hybrid Simulation of Base Isolated Structures". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  31. ^ Zayas, Victor A.; Low, Stanley S.; Mahin, Stephen A. (May 1990), "A Simple Pendulum Technique for Achieving Seismic Isolation", Earthquake Spectra, 6 (2): 317–333, doi:10.1193/1.1585573, ISSN 8755-2930
  32. ^ Housner, George W.; Jennings, Paul C. (1982). Earthquake Design Criteria. EERI. ISBN 1-888577-52-5.
  33. ^ "Earthquake-Resistant Construction". Archived from the original on 2012-09-15. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  34. ^
  35. ^ Edited by Farzad Naeim (1989). Seismic Design Handbook. VNR. ISBN 0-442-26922-6.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  36. ^ Arnold, Christopher; Reitherman, Robert (1982). Building Configuration & Seismic Design. A Wiley-Interscience Publication. ISBN 0-471-86138-3.
  37. ^ "Template for External Caltrans Pages". Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  38. ^ "Strategy to Close Metsamor Plant Presented | Asbarez Armenian News". 1995-10-26. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  39. ^ neesit. "Niigita Earthquake 1964 – YouTube". Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  40. ^ Robert W. Day (2007). Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Handbook. McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-07-137782-4.
  41. ^ "Nuclear Power Plants and Earthquakes". Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  42. ^ neesit. "Niigita Earthquake 1964". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-07-31.
  43. ^ "Soil Liquefaction with Dr. Ellen Rathje". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  44. ^ "Building Collapse". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  45. ^ "Tsunami disaster (Sri Lanka Resort)". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  46. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  47. ^ Edited by Robert Lark (2007). Bridge Design, Construction and Maintenance. Thomas Telford. ISBN 0-7277-3593-4.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  48. ^ "Bad construction cited in quake zone – World news – Asia-Pacific – China earthquake | NBC News". MSNBC. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  49. ^ "Earth Architecture – the Book, Synopsis". Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  50. ^ "simulacion terremoto peru-huaraz – casas de adobe – YouTube". 2006-06-24. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  51. ^ [3] Archived August 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  52. ^ "Shake table testing of adobe house (4A-S7 East) – YouTube". 2007-01-12. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  53. ^ Timber Design & Construction Sourcebook=Gotz, Karl-Heinz et al. McGraw-Hall. 1989. ISBN 0-07-023851-0.
  54. ^ "SEESL". Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  55. ^ Rossen Rashkoff. "Reinforced Brick Masonry". Archived from the original on 2013-08-19. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  56. ^ Ekwueme, Chukwuma G.; Uzarski, Joe (2003). Seismic Design of Masonry Using the 1997 UBC. Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada.
  57. ^ Nilson, Arthur H. (1987). Design of Prestressed Concrete. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-83072-0.
  58. ^ Nawy, Edward G. (1989). Prestressed Concrete. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-698375-8.
  59. ^ Reitherman, Robert (2012). Earthquakes and Engineers: An International History. Reston, VA: ASCE Press. pp. 394–395. ISBN 9780784410714. Archived from the original on 2012-07-26.
  60. ^ "SAC Steel Project: Welcome". Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  61. ^ Seismic Design Manual. Chicago: American Institute of Steel Construction. 2006. pp. 6.1–30. ISBN 1-56424-056-8.
  62. ^ EERI Endowment Subcommittee (May 2000). Financial Management of Earthquake Risk. EERI Publication. ISBN 0-943198-21-6.
  63. ^ Eugene Trahern (1999). "Loss Estimation". Archived from the original on 2009-04-10.
  64. ^ Craig Taylor; Erik VanMarcke, eds. (2002). Acceptable Risk Processes: Lifeline and Natural Hazards. Reston, VA: ASCE, TCLEE. ISBN 9780784406236. Archived from the original on 2013-01-13.

External links

CSA (database company)

CSA (formerly Cambridge Scientific Abstracts) was a division of Cambridge Information Group and provider of online databases, based in Bethesda, Maryland before merging with ProQuest of Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2007. CSA hosted databases of abstracts and developed taxonomic indexing of scholarly articles. These databases were hosted on the CSA Illumina platform and were available alongside add-on products like CSA Illustrata (deep-indexing of tables and figures). The company produced numerous bibliographic databases in different fields of the arts and humanities, natural and social sciences, and technology.

Thus, coverage included materials science, environmental sciences and pollution management, biological sciences, aquatic sciences and fisheries, biotechnology, engineering, computer science, sociology, linguistics, and other areas.

Civil engineering

Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including public works such as roads, bridges, canals, dams, airports, sewerage systems, pipelines, structural components of buildings, and railways.Civil engineering is traditionally broken into a number of sub-disciplines. It is considered the second-oldest engineering discipline after military engineering, and it is defined to distinguish non-military engineering from military engineering. Civil engineering takes place in the public sector from municipal through to national governments, and in the private sector from individual homeowners through to international companies.


A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. In other words, a column is a compression member. The term column applies especially to a large round support (the shaft of the column) with a capital and a base or pedestal which is made of stone, or appearing to be so. A small wooden or metal support is typically called a post, and supports with a rectangular or other non-round section are usually called piers. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces. Other compression members are often termed "columns" because of the similar stress conditions. Columns are frequently used to support beams or arches on which the upper parts of walls or ceilings rest. In architecture, "column" refers to such a structural element that also has certain proportional and decorative features. A column might also be a decorative element not needed for structural purposes; many columns are "engaged", that is to say form part of a wall.

Earthquake-resistant structures

Earthquake-resistant structures are structures designed to protect buildings from earthquakes. While no structure can be entirely immune to damage from earthquakes, the goal of earthquake-resistant construction is to erect structures that fare better during seismic activity than their conventional counterparts.

According to building codes, earthquake-resistant structures are intended to withstand the largest earthquake of a certain probability that is likely to occur at their location.This means the loss of life should be minimized by preventing collapse of the buildings for rare earthquakes while the loss of the functionality should be limited for more frequent ones.To combat earthquake destruction, the only method available to ancient architects was to build their landmark structures to last, often by making them excessively stiff and strong.

Currently, there are several design philosophies in earthquake engineering, making use of experimental results, computer simulations and observations from past earthquakes to offer the required performance for the seismic threat at the site of interest. These range from appropriately sizing the structure to be strong and ductile enough to survive the shaking with an acceptable damage, to equipping it with base isolation or using structural vibration control technologies to minimize any forces and deformations. While the former is the method typically applied in most earthquake-resistant structures, important facilities, landmarks and cultural heritage buildings use the more advanced (and expensive) techniques of isolation or control to survive strong shaking with minimal damage. Examples of such applications are the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and the Acropolis Museum.

Earthquake Baroque

Earthquake Baroque is a style of Baroque architecture found in the Philippines, which suffered destructive earthquakes during the 17th century and 18th century, where large public buildings, such as churches, were rebuilt in a Baroque style during the Spanish Colonial period in the country.Similar events led to the Pombaline architecture in Lisbon following the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and Sicilian Baroque in Sicily following the 1693 earthquake.

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute

The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) is a leading technical society in dissemination of earthquake risk and earthquake engineering research both in the U.S. and globally. EERI members include researchers, geologists, geotechnical engineers, educators, government officials, and building code regulators. Their mission, as stated in their 5-year plan published in 2006, has three points: "Advancing the science and practice of earthquake engineering; Improving understanding of the impact of earthquakes on the physical, social, economic, political, and cultural environment; and Advocating comprehensive and realistic measures for reducing the harmful effects of earthquakes".

George W. Housner

George W. Housner (December 9, 1910 (Saginaw, Michigan) – November 10, 2008 (Pasadena, California)) was an eminent authority on earthquake engineering and National Medal of Science laureate. Housner received his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan where he was influenced by Stephen Timoshenko. He earned his Masters' (1934) and Doctoral (1941) degrees from the California Institute of Technology where he had been a Professor of Earthquake Engineering from 1945 to 1981, and Professor Emeritus thereafter.

Annually, in recognition of those who made extraordinary contributions to the earthquake safety research, practices and policies, EERI awards The George W. Housner Medal of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. On his death, Prof. Housner left a substantial gift to EERI "to advance the objectives of EERI". This gift has been used to train future earthquake engineering policy advocates and thought leaders through the EERI Housner Fellows Program, which has been active since 2011.Housner died of natural causes November 10, 2008 in Pasadena, California at the age of 97.

Harry Bolton Seed

Harry Bolton Seed (August 19, 1922 – April 23, 1989) was an educator, scholar, former Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He was regarded as the founding father of geotechnical earthquake engineering.

International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology

International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (IIEES), founded by Mohsen Ghafory-Ashtiany, is an international earthquake engineering and seismology institute based in Iran. It was established as a result of the 24th UNESCO General Conference Resolution DR/250 under Iranian government approval in 1989. It was founded as an independent institute within the Iran's Ministry of Science, Research and Technology.Mohsen Ghafory-Ashtiany distinguished professor of earthquake engineering and risk management at International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and seismology (IIEES) which was founded by him in 1989, is Chief Editor of JSEE and IDRiM Journals; author of more than 140 papers and 3 books in the field of earthquake engineering, seismic hazard and risk analysis, risk management and planning. Ashtiany is the Director and member of the Executive committee of International Association of Earthquake engineering (IAEE), Chairman of Earthquake Hazard, Risk and Strong Ground Motion Commission of IASPEI, member of UN-ISDR Scientific and Technical commission, Director and member of board of World Seismic Safety Initiative, member of Global Earthquake Risk Model Project; Member of Geo-Hazard Initiative, Member of GSHAP, Member of Global Risk Forum-Davos, and many other scientific communities. Ashtiany was born in Tehran, Iran in 1957 and graduated from Va. Tech (USA) in 1983 with honor, and is resident of US.

On its establishment, the IIEES drew up a seismic code in an attempt to improve the infrastructural response to earthquakes and seismic activity in the country. Its primary objective is to reduce the risk of seismic activity on buildings and roads and provide mitigation measures both in Iran and the region.The institute is responsible for much of the research and education in this field by conducting research and providing education and knowledge in seismotectonic studies, seismology and earthquake engineering. In addition conducts research and educates in risk management and generating possibilities for an effective earthquake response strategy.

The IIEES is composed of the following research Centers: Seismology, Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering, Structural Earthquake Engineering, Risk Management; National center for Earthquake Prediction, and Graduate School, Public Education and Information Division.

Li Ping (geologist)

Li Ping (Chinese: 李玶; 20 March 1924 – 10 September 2019) was a Chinese geologist and earthquake engineer. He was an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.


In materials science, liquefaction is a process that generates a liquid from a solid or a gas or that generates a non-liquid phase which behaves in accordance with fluid dynamics.

It occurs both naturally and artificially. As an example of the latter, a "major commercial application of liquefaction is the liquefaction of air to allow separation of the constituents, such as oxygen, nitrogen, and the noble gases." Another is the conversion of solid coal into a liquid form usable as a substitute for liquid fuels.

Liu Huixian

Liu Huixian (Chinese: 刘恢先; 1912–1992) was a Chinese structural engineer and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is famous for his contribution to earthquake engineering and is seen as "the father of earthquake engineering".

Liu graduated from Southwest Jiaotong University (then Tangshan Jiaotong University) in 1933. He later received his master's degree from Cornell University and his doctorate from the University of Illinois. He taught in Zhejiang University and National Southwestern Associated University from 1938 until 1946. He married fellow scientist Hong Jing (洪晶), a physicist of the Harbin Institute of Technology, in 1941. In 1947, he went to the United States and taught in the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 1951, he returned to China and taught in Tsinghua University. In 1952, he joined the Jiusan Society and went to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 1978, he joined the Communist Party of China. He died in Harbin in 1992.

A statue of Liu was installed at Southwest Jiaotong University in 2013. There is also a prize for earthquake engineering named after Liu.

Nathan M. Newmark

Nathan Mortimore Newmark (September 22, 1910 – January 25, 1981) was an American structural engineer and academic, who is widely considered as one of the founding fathers of Earthquake Engineering. He was awarded the National Medal of Science for engineering.

Nicholas Ambraseys

Nicholas Neocles Ambraseys FICE FREng (Greek: Νικόλαος Αμβράζης του Νεοκλή, 19 January 1929 – 28 December 2012) was a Greek engineering seismologist. He was emeritus professor of Engineering Seismology and Senior Research Fellow at Imperial College London. For many years Ambraseys was considered as the leading figure and absolute authority in earthquake engineering and seismology in Europe.


Oscillation is the repetitive variation, typically in time, of some measure about a central value (often a point of equilibrium) or between two or more different states. The term vibration is precisely used to describe mechanical oscillation. Familiar examples of oscillation include a swinging pendulum and alternating current.

Oscillations occur not only in mechanical systems but also in dynamic systems in virtually every area of science: for example the beating of the human heart (for circulation), business cycles in economics, predator–prey population cycles in ecology, geothermal geysers in geology, vibration of strings in guitar and other string instruments, periodic firing of nerve cells in the brain, and the periodic swelling of Cepheid variable stars in astronomy.

Peak ground acceleration

Peak ground acceleration (PGA) is equal to the maximum ground acceleration that occurred during earthquake shaking at a location. PGA is equal to the amplitude of the largest absolute acceleration recorded on an accelerogram at a site during a particular earthquake. Earthquake shaking generally occurs in all three directions. Therefore, PGA is often split into the horizontal and vertical components. Horizontal PGAs are generally larger than those in the vertical direction but this is not always true, especially close to large earthquakes. PGA is an important parameter (also known as an intensity measure) for earthquake engineering, The design basis earthquake ground motion (DBEGM) is often defined in terms of PGA.

Unlike the Richter and moment magnitude scales, it is not a measure of the total energy (magnitude, or size) of an earthquake, but rather of how hard the earth shakes at a given geographic point. The Mercalli intensity scale uses personal reports and observations to measure earthquake intensity but PGA is measured by instruments, such as accelerographs. It can be correlated to macroseismic intensities on the Mercalli scale but these correlations are associated with large uncertainty. See also seismic scale.

The peak horizontal acceleration (PHA) is the most commonly used type of ground acceleration in engineering applications. It is often used within earthquake engineering (including seismic building codes) and it is commonly plotted on seismic hazard maps. In an earthquake, damage to buildings and infrastructure is related more closely to ground motion, of which PGA is a measure, rather than the magnitude of the earthquake itself. For moderate earthquakes, PGA is a reasonably good determinant of damage; in severe earthquakes, damage is more often correlated with peak ground velocity.

Ray William Clough

Ray William Clough, (July 23, 1920 – October 8, 2016), was Byron L. and Elvira E. Nishkian Professor of structural engineering in the department of civil engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and one of the founders of the finite element method (FEM). His article in 1956 was one of the first applications of this computational method. He coined the term “finite elements” in an article in 1960. He was born in Seattle.In the Fall, 2008 Clough was recognized as a “Legend of Earthquake Engineering” at the World Conference of Earthquake Engineering in China. Clough is known for his work in the field of earthquake engineering, and credited with the development and application of a mathematical method, finite element analysis, that has revolutionized numerical modeling of the physical world. Dr. Clough extended the method to enable dynamic analysis of complex structures and co-authored the definitive text on structural dynamics. Three decades later, this text is still in wide use. He also transformed the field through the development of fundamental theories, computational techniques, and experimental methods. During his almost 40 years at Berkeley he taught, advised, and mentored numerous students.

Clough is professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He is credited with developing the Earthquake Engineering Research Center at Berkeley, a hub for analytical engineering research, information resources, and public service programs. Dr. Clough's many honors include the Prince Philip Medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering in London. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Royal Norwegian Scientists Society, and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. He was awarded A. Cemal Eringen Medal in 1992. In 1994, President Clinton presented Clough with a National Medal of Science and in 2006 he received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Civil Engineering from The Franklin Institute. He died on October 8, 2016, aged 96.


Seismology ( ; from Ancient Greek σεισμός (seismós) meaning "earthquake" and -λογία (-logía) meaning "study of") is the scientific study of earthquakes and the propagation of elastic waves through the Earth or through other planet-like bodies. The field also includes studies of earthquake environmental effects such as tsunamis as well as diverse seismic sources such as volcanic, tectonic, oceanic, atmospheric, and artificial processes such as explosions. A related field that uses geology to infer information regarding past earthquakes is paleoseismology. A recording of earth motion as a function of time is called a seismogram. A seismologist is a scientist who does research in seismology.

Structural mechanics

Structural mechanics or Mechanics of structures is the computation of deformations, deflections, and internal forces or stresses (stress equivalents) within structures, either for design or for performance evaluation of existing structures. It is one subset of structural analysis. Structural mechanics analysis needs input data such as structural loads, the structure's geometric representation and support conditions, and the materials' properties. Output quantities may include support reactions, stresses and displacements. Advanced structural mechanics may include the effects of stability and non-linear behaviors.

Mechanics of structures is a field of study within applied mechanics that investigates the behavior of structures under mechanical loads, such as bending of a beam, buckling of a column, torsion of a shaft, deflection of a thin shell, and vibration of a bridge.

There are three approaches to the analysis: the energy methods, flexibility method or direct stiffness method which later developed into finite element method and the plastic analysis approach.


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.