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Civil engineers to study impact of New Zealand earthquake

RESTON, VA. — On Sept. 3, 2010, a magnitude-7 earthquake occurred on the eastern side of New Zealand, approximately 40 kilometers west of Christchurch, causing significant damage. In an effort to learn from the performance of the region’s various infrastructure systems, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will be sending two technical assessment teams to New Zealand to study the impact of the quake.

The team from ASCE’s Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) will document the performance of building structures, particularly those that had been seismically upgraded prior to the earthquake, assess whether changes to current codes and standards in the United States might be warranted as a result of their findings, and glean information on the nationwide seismic upgrade public policies in New Zealand.

The Technical Council on Lifeline Earthquake Engineering (TCLEE) team will examine the performance of infrastructure systems such as water and wastewater, transportation, electric power, telecommunications, liquid fuel and gas, and schools and hospitals; as well as gather information that could aid in sustainable and resilient development efforts.

SEI Team: Oct. 6 – 9
Brian Kehoe, P.E., S.E., R.L.S, F.ASCE, Wiss Janney Elstner Associates,
San Francisco
Bob Pekelnicky, P.E., S.E., Degenkolb Engineers, San Francisco (Team
K. Mark Sinclair, P.E., S.E., Degenkolb Engineers, San Francisco

TCLEE Team: Oct. 7 – 17
John Eidinger, P.E., S.E, G&E Engineering Systems, Oakland, California
(Team Leader)
Alex Tang, P.E., F.ASCE, L&T Consulting Inc., Mississauga, Ontario,

As part of its disaster response procedures, ASCE forms technical teams to study infrastructure damage caused by natural or man-made disasters. Such studies are conducted so that engineers may learn from the disaster, and that those lessons learned may be documented to inform future actions.

ASCE has participated in more than a dozen assessments in the pas decade, including studies of the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001; assessments following hurricanes Katrina and Ike; tsunami assessments throughout the Indian Ocean Basin in 2004 and at the Samoan Islands; and earthquake assessments in Haiti, Chile, China, Peru,
Alaska, California, Italy, Algeria and Turkey.

For more information about ASCE, please visit www.asce.org.