In 2012, Costa Rica was pummeled by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake, one of the strongest ever to hit the Central American nation. Without enough advance warning, such natural disasters can be devastating. A team of scientists lead by the University of South Florida has found a way to help better forecast the size of future disasters like this. The team found that subtle shifts in the Earth's offshore plates can be a harbinger of the size of earthquakes or tsunamis. Find out more in this video.
Credit: National Science Foundation
A new, rocking, pre-tensioned concrete bridge support system has been developed by the University of Washington that reduces on-site construction time and minimizes earthquake damage. The 52-ton, 70-foot-long concrete bridge, built atop three 14- by 14-foot, 50-ton-capacity hydraulically driven shake tables at the University of Nevada, Reno, was shaken in a series of simulated earthquakes, culminating in the large ground motions recorded in the deadly and damaging 1995 magnitude 6.9 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, and it survived. See more in this video.
Credit: University of Nevada, Reno
The mission of the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation in NSF's Directorate for Engineering is to fund fundamental research and education in support of the foundation's strategic goals directed at advances in the disciplines of civil, mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering, and materials design. In addition, the division has a focus on the reduction of risks and damage resulting from earthquakes and other natural and technological hazards.
New 3-D numerical modeling that captures far more geometric complexity of an active fault segment in Southern California than any other suggests that the overall earthquake hazard for towns on the west side of the Coachella Valley, such as Palm Springs and Palm Desert, may be slightly lower than previously believed.
January 26, 2015
Engineering innovative seismic retrofits that don't break the bank
Georgia Tech engineers are testing out novel materials and combinations that would be less disruptive and costly
Researchers at the state-of-the-art Structural Engineering and Materials Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology are using a full-scale model building to test new ways to protect structures from earthquakes and potentially save lives.
The three-story concrete building is based on designs common through much of the 20th century. It has been subjected to round after round of simulated temblors to test if materials such as carbon fiber or new shape-memory alloys can be used to reinforce the structure so it would remain standing in moderate to strong earthquakes.
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), structural engineer Reginald DesRoches and his team have developed a series of retrofits of varying cost and intrusiveness to give building owners in quake-prone areas a range of choices for hardening their property.
The research in this episode was funded by NSF award #1041607, NEESR-CR - Innovative Seismic Retrofits for Resilient Reinforced Concrete Buildings. NEESR-CR is short for the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation Research-Core Research.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.