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Re: Peru Earthquake and Adobe Dwellings

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Dear Nels:
 
The earthquake was in Southern Peru, exactly in Arequipa and is was 6.9 Richter; not big, but big enough for old adobe structures. The research that has been done at Universidad Catolica has not been used (as I know) neither for new houses, nor for reinforcemenr of existing ones. It is very difficult to get poor people that have money only to eat (and sometimes they don't have even that) to spend money reinforcing their 40 or 50 year old houses. This kind of structures are usually built by the owner with the community colaboration with no technical advice or supervision. We haven't had any technical evaluation yet but most damage is in adobe structures and structures with dome roofs. No reports on masonry or concrete structures. I've heard that one of our designs made of 2 inch thick welded wire mesh reinforced concrete wall houses behaved excellent with no damage at all.
 
The problem is that as far as I know, all this research results have not become a regular practice among adobe builders. I think it is going to take some time and unfortunately, more deaths to understand the importance of an engineer, even for building a small house.
 
Regards,
 
Walter E. Sheen
Civil Engineer
Lima - Peru
(511) 446-6237  (511) 446-9407
wsp(--nospam--at)terra.com.pe
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2001 10:51 AM
Subject: Peru Earthquake and Adobe Dwellings

There was an earthquake, Richter 8.1, in Peru last Saturday.  I've seen very little in the news about it.  The latest information I've read reported 71 killed.  That's a small number for such a large quake.
 
Researchers (Julio Vargas Neumann, Juan Bariola, and others) in the Engineering Department at Universidad Catolica del Peru have been developing seismic resistant earthen architecture for houses of adobe, and of quincha construction. 
 
Has that research paid off in good seismic performance of adobe dwellings and other kinds of earthen construction using the techniques they have developed?
 
Nels Roselund
Structural Engineer
South San Gabriel, CA
njineer(--nospam--at)att.net