You are here: Home / Archives for 2016
<< Return to the LFE Archive

Archives for 2016

Fukushima, Japan

November 21, 2016, M 6.9 Earthquake


EERI Executive Director Search

In Memoriam: Ray W. Clough

In Memoriam: Vitelmo V. Bertero

Chris Rojahn to Receive the 2017 Alfred E. Alquist Medal

Kaikoura, New Zealand

Chris Poland to be Awarded Housner Medal in 2017

Chris Poland

Chris Poland

Chris Poland (M. EERI, 1978), a practicing structural engineer whose career includes a wide range of professional activity spanning structural design, public policy, advocacy, and service to EERI and the profession, will be presented with the George W. Housner Medal for 2017. The Housner Medal is awarded to recognize Institute members and others who have made extraordinary and lasting contributions to public earthquake safety through the development and application of earthquake hazard reduction practices and policies.

Poland’s design work includes seismic analysis and strengthening of existing buildings, structural failure analysis, and historic preservation. After serving as President, CEO, and Chairman at Degenkolb Engineers, Poland left in 2014 to pursue a specialized consulting practice aimed at community resilience and the buildings and systems that contribute to it. He brings a broad, multidisciplinary approach to reducing risk and promoting disaster resilience that reflects the necessity to look beyond the physical environment to include the social, economic and cultural fabric of our cities.

He has represented the profession in testimony to Congress supporting the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) and is a passionate seismic safety advocate at the local, state and national levels. He served as the first Chair of the Advisory Committee to NEHRP, responsible for evaluating and advising the earthquake programs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the National Science Foundation. He currently serves as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Structural Safety of Department of Veterans Affairs Facilities.

Poland’s energy and vision in raising public awareness to the risk of earthquakes has had a lasting impact on California and the nation. He served as Chair of the 100th Anniversary Earthquake Conference in San Francisco in April 2006; the Chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings Standards Committee, which completed both ASCE 31 and ASCE 41; Chairman of the California Strong Motion Advisory Committee, and Member of the Advisory Committee of the California Integrated Seismic Network. He is engaged in innovative local initiatives as a member of the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), where he co-chairs their Resilient City Initiative. He acted as lead in drafting the publication The Disaster Resilient City, a comprehensive plan now being implemented to promote the resilience of the structural, social and 85 economic elements of the City to reduce risk and improve response and recovery from future disasters.

Inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2009, Poland is also a Fellow of the American Council of Engineering Companies and the American Society of Civil Engineers Structural Engineering Institute, as well as an Honorary member of the Structural Engineers Association of California and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. Chris served as President of the EERI Board of Directors in 1999-2000.

The presentation of the George W. Housner Medal to Chris Poland will take place at the 69th EERI Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, on March 9, 2017.

Italy Earthquake Webinar Briefing on October 28, 2016


On Friday, October 28, 2016, 3:00-5:00 pm, Pacific time, a webinar briefing shared findings from reconnaissance activities conducted after the Central Italy earthquake of August 24, 2016.

The briefing is a collaboration of NSF-sponsored Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance Association (GEER), Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), B. John Garrick Institute for Risk Sciences at UCLA, Rete dei Laboratori Universitari di Ingegneria Sismica (ReLUIS), Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, and Eucentre Foundation. The full schedule can be seen below. The event is sponsored by GEER, EERI, B. John Garrick Risk Institute, PEER (Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center), and UCLA International Institute.

Press the ‘play’ button in the YouTube window below. Note, once you press ‘play’ in the center of the image, you can click the icon on the bottom right corner to view the briefing in full screen mode. You can also watch directly from YouTube.

The presentations include:

Overview of seismic sequence and reconnaissance activities.
Jonathan P. Stewart, GEER Team Leader

Regional tectonics and geology. Surface fault rupture.
by Fabrizio Galadini (via video), INGV L’Aquila Region Branch Manager, GEER Team Member

Finite fault model and ground motions.
by Paolo Zimmaro, UCLA, GEER Team Member

Applications of drone-based imagery. Earthquake-induced landslides.
by Kevin Franke, BYU, GEER Team Member

Performance of dwellings and damage patterns.
by Maria Giovanna Durante, University of Sannio,
Tasos Sextos, University of Bristol, GEER Team Members

Performance of bridges.
by Luigi Di Sarno (via video), University of Sannio, ReLuis Team Member

Building retrofit policy and effectiveness.
by Silvia Mazzoni, UC Berkeley, EERI Team Leader,
Guido Magenes (via video), University of Pavia, EUCenter Team Leader

Emergency response.
by Silvia Mazzoni, UC Berkeley, EERI Team Leader

Lessons learned and next steps.
by Jonathan P. Stewart, GEER Team Leader

Download the webinar flyer for more information.

2016-2017 EERI/FEMA NEHRP Graduate Fellows in Earthquake Hazard Reduction

nehrp-fellowsChristine Z. Beyzaei (M. EERI, 2014), a Ph.D. student in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and Nasser Marafi (M. EERI, 2014), a Ph.D. student in Structural Engineering from the University of Washington, have been selected as the 2016-2017 EERI/FEMA NEHRP Graduate Fellows in Earthquake Hazard Reduction.

EERI awards graduate fellowships each year with support from FEMA and the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program. The award is given to foster the participation of capable individuals in furthering the goals and practice of earthquake hazard mitigation. The fellowships provide a stipend of $12,000 that can be used for tuition, fees, research expenses, and attendance at the 2017 EERI Annual Meeting, March 7-10, 2017, in Portland, Oregon.

Beyzaei and Marafi were selected from a group of highly qualified applicants studying civil, environmental, mechanical, structural, and geotechnical engineering, geomechanics, public policy, and sustainable design and construction at universities across the nation. A subcommittee of EERI’s Student Activities Committee, led by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Associate Professor Terri R. Norton (M. EERI, 2004), reviewed the application packages and made the final selections. The committee awarded honorable mention to candidates Megan Boston (M. EERI, 2012, John Hopkins University), Trevor Carey (M. EERI, 2013, University of California, Davis) and Andrew Sen (M. EERI, 2016, University of Washington).

Christine Z. Beyzaei’s doctoral research focuses on fine-grained soil liquefaction effects, investigating observations from the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence through advanced laboratory testing and evaluation of depositional environment effects on liquefaction performance. The fellowship review committee noted her work showed great promise for improving engineering practice. Beyzaei graduated from the George Washington University in 2009 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and from University of California, Berkeley in 2010 with an M.S. in Civil Engineering. From 2010-2013 she worked as a geotechnical engineer at Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers in New York City on both U.S. and international consulting projects. In addition to her academic and professional pursuits, Ms. Beyzaei was actively involved in the founding of the EERI-NYNE Regional Chapter, served as GEER Recorder from 2013-2015, and volunteered her time mentoring high school students with the ACE Mentor Program of America from 2011-2013. She is a registered civil engineer in the state of California.

Nasser Marafi is part of an interdisciplinary team at the University of Washington (the M9 Project –, and is currently studying the effects of large-magnitude subduction earthquakes on structures located in deep sedimentary basins. Within the M9 Project, a suite of physics-based simulations is being developed for a wide range of possible earthquake rupture scenarios. Marafi is comparing these generated ground motions with those recorded during subduction earthquakes inside and near basins in Japan, and is evaluating the intensity of these motions in terms of spectral acceleration, ground-motion duration, spectral shape, and structural collapse risk. Working with practitioners from the Structural Engineering Association of Washington, Nasser is currently developing a framework to incorporate basin effects into the seismic design of structures. The fellowship review committee expressed interest not only in Marafi’s research topic, but also on its influence to expand research in this area.

Prior to joining the Ph.D. program, Nasser practiced structural engineering for five years and is a registered Professional Engineer in California. He is advised by professors Jeffrey Berman (M. EERI, 2000) and Marc Eberhard (M. EERI, 1990).

The Institute looks forward to highlighting Beyzaei and Marafi’s research at the EERI 2017 Annual Meeting.

To learn more about the EERI/FEMA NEHRP Graduate Fellowship, visit the EERI website at

EERI-Eucentre-ReLUIS Reconnaissance Team in Italy

amatrice-towerAs part of the Learning from Earthquakes program, EERI is joining with the European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering (Eucentre) and Rete dei Laboratori Universitari di Ingegneria Sismica (ReLUIS) to conduct a reconnaissance trip in Italy from September 12-16, 2016. The team will study the impacts of the August 24, 2016 Amatrice earthquake.

We thank EERI members for the many responses to assist and support our mission to the region. In the tradition of EERI reconnaissance efforts, the team assembled for the Amatrice reconnaissance trip is represented by earthquake engineers from both academia and practice. This team was also designed by the LFE Executive Committee to provide opportunities for younger members participate in reconnaissance activities.

EERI delegation members are:

Silvia Mazzoni (M. EERI, 2010, and EERI Delegation Leader), Consultant and Research Engineer at UC Berkeley
Erica Fischer (M. EERI, 2010), Design Engineer, Degenkolb Engineers, Seattle
Paolo Calvi (M. EERI, 2016), Assistant Professor, University of Washington
Dick Dreyer (M. EERI, 1995), Principal, Holmes Culley, San Francisco

Guido Magenes, Professor and Head of Masonry Structures Area, Eucentre and University of Pavia, will act as the Eucentre Delegation Leader. Angelo Masi of University of Basilicata will act as ReLUIS Delegation Leader. Additional members of the team from Eucentre are Roberto Nascimbene, Andrea Penna, and Massimiliano Stucchi, while ReLUIS representatives are Enrico Spacone, Antonio Santo, Maria Polese, Marco Di Ludovico, Luigi DiSarno, Luigi Sorrentino and George Balzopoulos.

The reconnaissance mission for the EERI members will be focused on four main themes:

1. Performance of new or retrofitted structures.

2. How lessons from the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake are informing emergency response and rebuilding efforts.

3. Observation of Italian approaches for detailed and systematic data collection techniques to inform (1) EERI’s data collection approaches, (2) fragility development for the building typologies damaged by the earthquake, and (3) verification of virtual damage and loss maps from remote sensing data sources.

4. Performance of schools and their impacts on community resilience.

After its return from the field, the team will disseminate findings by producing a web-broadcasted reconnaissance briefing for the membership. More information on the Amatrice earthquake, including data and photos from the reconnaissance team as they are gathered, can be found on the LFE Amatrice Virtual Clearinghouse:

Editorial Note: The team members and delegation leaders listed in this article were corrected and updated on October 31, 2016.