Shaky Lessons

In the aftermath of the earthquake that rocked Christchurch on September 4, an Arizona State University (ASU) geotechnical engineer says the US should learn from what New Zealanders did to withstand a recent powerful quake — and how they could have prepared even better. The 7.1-magnitude quake was equal in magnitude to the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year that caused more than 2, fatalities. Though the impact was widespread, the result was far less devastating than in Haiti, due in large part to New Zealand’s stringent construction codes and sustainable engineering practices, says Edward Kavazanjian, a professor in ASU’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. Despite high levels of ground movement, however, structural damage to most modern buildings and many other structures was minimal. That’s because New Zealand has put in place some of the most advanced building and engineering regulations designed to prepare structures to withstand seismic activity, Kavazanjian says.

Tags: Arizona State University  ASUnews  Christchurch  Christchurch earthquake  Edward Kavazanjian  Haiti  New Zealanders  structural engineering  United States