lessons from the tragedy in haiti

27 01 2010

[By SD]   I went to a very interesting seminar yesterday at Berkeley on the preliminary reconnaissance of the tragic Haiti Earthquake. You can watch the entire webcast on:


You can find the photo collection of the speaker (Eduardo Fierro) at:


My overall impression was that:

1) This disaster was tragic, but unfortunately not unique. Similar to many developing countries, the tragedy was not caused by the earthquake, but by bad construction and related policies

2) We, as engineers, can help Haiti through grassroots actions, organizations, and networks, such as Build Change or GeoHazard International Read the rest of this entry »


tehran’s minor earthquake on saturday

19 10 2009

Tehran experienced a minor earthquake (Richter magnitude 4) on Saturday at 2:23 pm local time (http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=205750). It seems that most Tehranies felt this shake. There is now a widespread fear of aftershocks and possibly bigger earthquakes due to more activities on the Eivanaki fault in southeast Tehran. Since information on the historical activity of this fault seems to be limited, it is difficult to make accurate probabilistic predictions on the likelihood of an aftershock. But it is certainly possible and quite likely to have another earthquake soon (not necessarily related to this particular fault movement). Tehran sits on major active faults and suffers from a large seismic risk due to fault activity, poor construction practice, and large population. The occurance of this recent minor earthquake may have influenced the stresses in the surrounding faults and might have increased the existing seismic risk facing Tehran.

 tehran map

Tehrani residents, engineers, contractors, general public, please be aware and pay attention to this important risk that you will have to deal with sooner or later. To learn how to protect yourself before, during, and after an earthquake, visit this site by FEMA: http://www.fema.gov/hazard/earthquake/index.shtm

In two of our previous posts, we also had some good discussion on earthquake preparedness in Tehran:



Tehrani engineers, architects, and contractors: I assume that you already know how to make earthquake resistant structures in a cost-effective way. If you have questions/concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will try my best to send you information on the current state of practice (in structural and geotechnical design) for your specific project. If you are not convinced about the risks facing your city and need more information on the probability of earthquakes in the coming years, also please don’t hesitate to let me know or contact someone at IIEES in Tehran (http://www.iiees.ac.ir/). Keep in mind that you are responsible for your building, and negligence and lack of knowledge are not acceptable any more.

understanding earthquakes and effects

6 10 2009

Great overview of our progress and current understanding of earthquakes since the 1906 great San Francisco earthquake:

tehran historic earthquakes

31 01 2008

[By Shideh]   I read an interesting article by H. Hamzehloo, F. Vaccari, and G.F. Panza, “ Towards a reliable seismic microzonation in Tehran, Iran,” a few parts of which I am including below:

“Tehran, the capital of Iran, is located in a very high seismic zone at the foot of the Alborz Mountains, which is part of the Alpine-Himalayan seismic belt. The distribution of historical earthquakes around Tehran shows that the region has been experiencing eight large destructive earthquakes with magnitude greater than 7 from 4th B.C to 1830 (Ambraseys and Melville, 1982). These large historical earthquakes caused severe damage to Shahre Ray City, which is a part of Tehran city at present. The last large historical event was the 1830 earthquake with magnitude 7.1, which occurred approximately 100 km from the city. The closest historical event to the city was the 855 earthquake with magnitude 7.1.


Read the rest of this entry »

children and earthquake safety

17 01 2008

[By Shideh]  I came across an interesting presentation by IIEES’ (International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology) public education department in regards to earthquake safety and particularly children’s safety programs currently being developed in Iran:


 A few highlights: About 131,935 classrooms need to be reconstructed; 126,010 classrooms need to be strengthened; 39% of schools need to become safe… 

eq-safety-and-kindergarten.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

iran’s international conference on integrated natural disaster management – this february

13 01 2008

Today, we received a message from one of the chairs of the 3rd International Conference on Integrated Natural Disaster Management scheduled in Iran for this February (2008).  The main themes for the conference are: earthquakes, floods, droughts, landslides, and hurricanes.  UNICEF, the City of Tehran, IAEM, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Shahid Beheshti University, York University, and Cranfield University are some of the sponsors of this conference. 

The deadline for submitting abstracts and papers is passed but you can still register and attend the conference.  If you have a paper that you’d like to submit, I personally suggest you send it even though the deadline’s past.  For more information: www.indm.org.  The image below is from their flash intro:


Read the rest of this entry »

interested in earthquake engineering?

7 09 2007

[By Shideh] For those interested in Earthquake Engineering: GEER (standing for GeoEngineering Earthquake Reconnaissance), a U.S. based organization aimed to document geotechnical engineering effects of important earthquakes and to advance research and practice in this field, has a great website with a collection of stunning photographs and detailed reconnaissance reports of the damage observed after major earthquakes around the world.