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Re: Mistreatment of Seismology Issues

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I have listened to this thread with great interest.  The question has been
discussed from the standpoint of what engineers need to do from a design
standpoint.  Additionally, we have discussed what a design based earthquake is.
All answers have been well presented and raised some key issues--again from the
engineer's standpoint.

>From my standpoint, I would like to hear now how this information is given to
the general public so they better understand what it means when they are told
their building "is in conformance with the code" (whatever edition that may
be).  Many of my projects relate directly to this concept.  When the firm
evaluates a building and tells the owner they can expect a 25% to 30% loss from
a design based earthquake, they obviously get concerned.  Many will say, "but
the building was built to code!"

Any suggestions on how to present this issue to a building owner.  This can also
be the first step in addressing the overall question of the engineering image to
the public.  A wonderful task for a public relations committee (BTW--this could
easily be a virtual committee).  Any comments on this idea from the SEAOC board
or anybody else would be greatly appreciated.

Rick Ranous
(formerly OES) now EQE

A.M.Zaki wrote:

> I agree with Gillham.
> To say that a specific structure can withstand an earthquake with a
> specific Richter magnitude, the location (including soil characteristics),
> and characterisitcs of both building and earthquake must be clearly
> specified. Design earthquake should be simulated by an expert and used to
> excite the building using time history analysis.
>
> A.M.Zaki
> At 08:05 Õ 22/10/98 +1000, you wrote:
> ><snip>
> >
> >Since general public knows very well what kind of damage can be expected
> >when
> >(say) 6.4 earthquake strikes but has absolutely no idea as to what kind of
> >damage can result when "life-safety standard"-compliant structure is hit by
> >the same magnitude earthquake
> >
> ><snip>
> >
> >Beyond my geotech class, and associated material I learned or have read
> >about relating to seismic design, I am not all that hip on the actual
> >mechanics of earthquakes.  That being said, I would have to question (in a
> >somewhat uninformed manner) the validity of the above statement.
> >
> >I would seem that there are at least 5 parameters that would help in
> >determining the damage that can be expected from an earthquake:
> >
> >1) Richter magnitude
> >
> >2) Duration
> >
> >3) Frequency content
> >
> >4) The characteristics of the structures being excited.
> >
> >5) Accelerations
> >
> >To say that an area experienced a "6.4" earthquake does not, IMO, give a
> >person enough information to even really guess the magnitude of damage that
> >should be expected.
> >
> >Case in point:
> >
> >Compare the Guam earthquake (Richter magnitude 8.2) to the Northridge
> >(6.4?).
> >
> >Duration of strong motion on Guam - about 40 seconds
> >
> >Duration of strong motion for Northridge - about 15 seconds.
> >
> >VERY different frequency contents (Guam EQ caused by a subduction fault,
> >located very deep, while Northridge I think was a strike slip fault EQ).
> >Guam EQ was as I understand it a much longer period earthquake than NR.
> >
> >Very high accelerations for NR, estimated accelerations from Guam EQ are
> >not nearly as high.
> >
> >
> >Two major structural failures on Guam, a bunch more for NR (although you
> >guys have a heck of a lot more buildings than we do!).
> >
> >No deaths on Guam.  More than that for NR.
> >
> >
> >
> >OK.  My point is that boiling down an earthquake to one single parameter
> >can, IMO, be very misleading.  Using this method, the amount of damage,
> >collapsed buildings, and deaths that resulted from the 8.2 on Guam should
> >have far surpassed the results of the "smaller" NR earthquake.  But that
> >did not happen.
> >
> >I don't wish to be just a naysayer, but at this time I don't feel that I
> >have covered all the bases as far as relevant earthquake parameters are
> >concerned.  Anyone care to add (or modify, or delete) from the above list?
> >It might be informative (for me, at least!)
> >
> >
> >
> >Regards,
> >
> >T. Eric Gillham PE
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
>