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Re: IRAN QUAKE/can we discuss ths?

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Title: IRAN QUAKE/can we discuss ths?
I won't claim to be an expert, but what do you want light shed on?  The theories of seismicity are well known and documented.  Earthquakes happen.  The reason for the complete devastation and tremendous loss of live when earthquakes take place in ancient areas, or modern areas still building with ancient methods and technology, is what we call the URM issue.  Un-reinforced or terribly under reinforced concrete and masonry or adobe style structures.  These buildings have a large mass and very little resistance.  If you followed all the discussion on the Paso Robles earthquake here in California the premise is the same, the discussion is centered around compliance with efforts in the US to upgrade older buildings to a higher life safety level.  This has been an ongoing problem for many years, but overall the levels of devastation seen in so called modern nations is greatly reduced from what it would be without the adoption and enforcement of modern building codes.  We learn from every event, and try to apply those lessons to our future building codes.  The EERI is a multi-national engineering organization with symposiums all over the world centered on the seismic issue.  I would be surprised if there are not active members in your area.
I watched closely for news of the earthquake in Iran.  Unfortunately, our media coverage in Iran is limited and only the "sensationalism" really comes through.  I did see enough images to know that the devastation of the buildings would be expected based on their type of construction.  I did hear that several nations have offered assistance to Iran, I do not know if Iran accepted. 
The way I see it, things will not change until countries with massive amounts of inherently dangerous structure types start to incorporate modern building techniques, make an attempt to allocate resources to mitigating the existing dangers, and make serious efforts to improve the infra-structure and emergency response capabilities.  Engineers in Iran and neighboring countries have to make their voices heard and educate the people and the government regarding the dangers and the available methods to mitigate those dangers.  I know this is easy to say, and not so easy to do, but you have to start somewhere.   Study the local building types and construction methods and see if any small steps can be implemented as an initial start to improving the performance of these structures.  Then get the local government to mandate the necessary changes.  The process takes time, but I would love to see numbers like 25,000 dead and 50,000 injured reduced.
----- Original Message -----
From: Syed Faiz
Sent: Saturday, December 27, 2003 12:42 AM
Subject: IRAN QUAKE/can we discuss ths?

Fellow Structural Engineers:

You all know by now that early Friday morning (Dec 26) the historic city of Bam in south-east Iran was hit with a 6.3 Richter Scale quake. Latest figure (BBC/Iran News) stands +25,000 dead and +50,000 injured.

This ancient city is located close to Pakistani province of Balochistan and we know about a FAULT (am not sure of the name)that strecthes from the Caspiabn Sea through into Iran. It then enters into Pakistan, passes thorugh Pakistani Balochistan and through Karachi (southern city of Pakistan) where this fault is known as ALLAHBAND FAULT. This particular fault then traverses through the Runn of Kutch in the south of Pakistan and then enters into Gujrat in India. It is understood frequent quakes in Gujrat (in the recent past and the last devastating one in Bhujj in Gujrat) is infact owing to this particular fault. Karachi has also experienced several minor jolts in the past (the last one was 4.3 Richter Scale in 2000 probably) but remains fortunate to be safe, so far, from any major devastation.

May I request experts on the subject (especially the Iranians, if any on this LIST for whom I extend my hearfelt condolence for this disaster also) to throw some lights on the issue per se?

My thanks in advance for the same to all.

Syed Faiz Ahmad; MEngg, M.ASCE
Senior Structural Engineer
Saudi Oger Ltd
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia