Archives for April 2015

EERI Nepal Earthquake Virtual Clearinghouse


Gorkha, Nepal

EERI response to M7.8 Nepal Earthquake

On April 25, 2015, an M7.8 earthquake struck Nepal 48 miles northwest of Kathmandu, killing a reported 4,000 people across Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Tibet. Avalanches and powerful aftershocks have followed. The EERI community extends its sympathy to the victims as rescue and relief work continues.

EERI is currently monitoring the situation from media reports and notes from colleagues in Nepal and surrounding areas as part of its Learning from Earthquakes Program

EERI has set up a virtual clearinghouse website for EERI members to find information and share knowledge about the earthquake impacts at

We are in a preliminary data collection phase. We welcome help in gathering and sharing links on the clearinghouse website to media reports, information from earthquake professionals with field reports, or relevant technical literature about Nepal earthquake risk. Email the virtual clearinghouse at

The LFE Executive Committee is developing a three-phase reconnaissance recommendation plan:

  • Initial field reconnaissance with EERI members and colleagues from India and Nepal
  • Creation of an LFE multi-disciplinary team composed of regional experts and International participants sent to region in two to five weeks
  • Follow-up team sent in four months to a year for study using the evaluation framework developed by EERI Resilience Observatory for documenting and measuring resilience

Any questions regarding EERI’s response to this earthquake can be directed to:

Apply for 2015-2016 EERI/FEMA Graduate Fellowship in Earthquake Hazard Reduction

EERI is pleased to announce the availability of a Graduate Fellowship for the 2015-2016 academic year to support one full-time student in a discipline contributing to the science and practice of earthquake hazard mitigation.

FEMA (logo)The one-year fellowship, underwritten with funds provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency external link icon, is designed to foster the participation of capable individuals in working toward goals and activities of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program.

The EERI/FEMA NEHRP fellowship provides a nine-month stipend of $12,000 with an additional $8,000 for tuition, fees, and research expenses.

Applicants must be enrolled in a graduate degree program at an accredited U.S. college or university and must hold U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status. All applications must include an academic transcript and a statement of educational and career goals.

All application materials must be submitted electronically to EERI, including a letter of nomination from a faculty sponsor at the student’s institution and two additional reference letters. Letters should evaluate the applicant’s recent academic performance, document the applicant’s research accomplishments, and assess the candidate’s potential to contribute to the field.

Candidates may apply online at Deadline for submission of all application materials is May 29, 2015. Announcement of the award will be made on July 1, 2015.

Opportunity | EERI/FEMA Graduate Fellowship


2015 Annual Meeting Focuses on Seismic Hazards Outside “Earthquake Country”

The 67th EERI Annual Meeting broke new ground from March 31–April 3, 2015, by convening in the Northeast for the first time in the Institute’s history. Over 500 attendees, including more than 200 students, came together in Boston, Massachusetts, for a full program of workshops, presentations, and the popular undergraduate seismic design competition. The local organizing committee built the technical program around the meeting theme of “Old Cities, New Earthquakes,” and many sessions focused on seismicity issues specific to the Central and Eastern United States (CEUS).

2015 Annual Meeting Friday luncheon in the Imperial Ballroom

2015 Annual Meeting Friday luncheon in the Imperial Ballroom. Photograph courtesy of Marshall Lew.

From the first plenary session to the meeting’s final workshop, the program touched on the potential for large earthquakes in a city popularly considered outside “earthquake country.” While relatively infrequent compared to the Pacific Coast, the Northeast United States does experience significant seismic events. The 1755 Cape Ann earthquake (estimated 5.9 M), damaged or knocked down from 1,300 to 1,600 chimneys when Boston had a population under 15,000. Since 1755, Boston has grown to a city of 645,000 people with much of its development growth on fill. The city now has an estimated 16,000 unreinforced masonry buildings.

EERI lectures and paper presentations were particularly excellent this year. Robert Olshansky (M. EERI, 1987) delivered the EERI Distinguished Lecture on “Cities, Earthquakes, and Time,” while Paul Somerville (M. EERI, 1983) gave the Joyner Lecture, entitled “Geoscientists’ Capacity to Meet Engineers’ Demands for Seismic Hazard Inputs.” EERI FEMA/NEHRP fellow Julie Fogarty (M. EERI, 2011) spoke on collapse behavior of steel columns under combined axial and lateral loading, and Ashly Cabas (M. EERI, 2013) followed with a presentation on her 2014 EERI Outstanding Graduate Student paper, Vs-K Correction factors for Input Ground Motions used in Seismic Site Response Analyses.

EERI’s School Earthquake Safety Initiative (SESI) was officially launched with a plenary session outlining goals and strategies to promote safe buildings for school children. A follow-up information session the next morning drew a full house. Details on this important new initiative will be coming to EERI members in the next weeks.

Over 60 students and professionals attended the Post-Earthquake Reconnaissance Workshop on the last day of the Annual Meeting. The workshop, hosted by the Student Leadership Council, taught students how to conduct earthquake damage assessment reconnaissance. Students and professionals, working in teams, engaged in a highly successful interactive field exercise to record observations of mock damage to different sites in Boston.

Great thanks are extended to the local organizing committee, led by Scott Civjan (M. EERI, 1995) from the EERI New England Regional Chapter, which arranged for accompanying trainings, workshops, and local tours, and created a lively program featuring national and regional experts.

We also thank all the attendees who joined us in Boston. Slides from most of the Annual Meeting sessions will be posted on the 2015 Annual Meeting website in the coming weeks.