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.

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.

Open Positions: EERI Post-Graduate Internships

The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) has two internship positions available for recent college graduates interested in gaining valuable professional experience while supporting the Institute’s mission to reduce the risks from earthquakes. This position can begin as early as May 2015, but the start date is flexible and students from both quarter and semester schools are encouraged to apply.

The approximately six month internship offers engagement in a number of interesting EERI projects. The intern would focus primarily on the Concrete Coalition, the World Housing Encyclopedia, and the Confined Masonry Network projects.

Tasks are varied, although day-to-day work focuses on supporting EERI projects and staff through research, project coordination, and website development and maintenance.

Internship Requirements Include:

  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering, science, architecture, or public policy.
  • Familiarity with issues in earthquake risk reduction.
  • Proficiency in Excel and Word
  • Basic HTML skills and some knowledge of website development and maintenance (WordPress and Joomla), or willingness to learn
  • Skills with graphic design programs such as Adobe InDesign or Illustrator
  • Curiosity, strong interpersonal skills, and a flexible attitude towards work.
  • Ability to take initiative and independently solve problems.

The intern will need to work in the EERI office, which means living in the Bay Area. (No moving or housing support provided). EERI interns are provided a stipend of $1,700 a month.

EERI Post Graduation internships are a great way to gain valuable professional experience, to be involved in meaningful projects related to seismic safety and risk reduction, and to make connections with EERI’s multi-disciplinary professional community. The EERI office is conveniently located in downtown Oakland, close to BART and the freeway.

You can learn more about the EERI Post Graduation Internship Program at:

Interested applicants should upload their resume, a one-page cover letter highlighting their qualifications and interest in the EERI internship program, and two references to the secure website here: Preference is given to EERI members. Applications should be submitted by April 13, 2015. EERI would like a commitment of six months, but recent graduates available only for the summer will be considered. New internship positions become available every four to six months. Interviews will be held the week of April 20, 2015.

Liu Huixian Earthquake Engineering Scholarship Awards for Graduate Students

In honor of the late Professor Liu Huixian, who is considered to be the founder of earthquake engineering in China, the Huixian Earthquake Engineering Foundation (China) and the US-China Earthquake Engineering Foundation (USA) are pleased to announce that approximately ten (10) Liu Huixian Earthquake Engineering Scholarship Awards are available in 2015.

Applicants must be students pursuing a master’s or doctor’s degree in earthquake engineering or closely related fields, who are enrolled in universities and research institutes in China, the USA, and Singapore, or are enrolled in member-organizations of the Asian-Pacific Network of Centers for Earthquake Engineering Research (ANCER).

Application materials should be submitted in electronic version to the Secretariat of the Huixian Earthquake Engineering Foundation by June 30, 2015: – Huixian Earthquake Engineering Foundation, and – Institute of Engineering Mechanics of China Earthquake Administration (IEM, CEA).

The Huixian Earthquake Engineering Foundation, China
President: Professor Qi Xiaozhai

The US-China Earthquake Engineering Foundation, USA
President: Professor George C. Lee (M. EERI, 1983)

Contact information:
Ning Xiaoquing
Tel.: +86-18745153617
Zhang Guixin
Secretariat of Huixian Earthquake Engineering Foundation
Tel.: +86-451-86652609
Add: 9 Xuefu Road, Harbin 150080, China
Fax: +86-451-86664755

Liu Huixian Earthquake Engineering Scholarship Award Provisional Regulations (PDF)
Application Form for the Liu Huixian Earthquake Engineering Scholarship Award (Word document)

Robert Olshansky Named 2015 EERI Distinguished Lecturer

Robert Olshansky (M. EERI, 1987), Professor and Head at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been selected as EERI’s 2015 Distinguished Lecturer. He will present his lecture, tentatively titled “Cities, Earthquakes, and Time,” at the 2015 EERI Annual Meeting, examining the relationships of earthquakes to time and the policy implications thereof. The EERI Distinguished Lecture Award is given to members of the Institute to recognize and encourage communication of outstanding professional contributions of major importance for earthquake hazard mitigation.

Robert OlshanskyOlshansky’s research and 25 years of teaching cover land use and environmental planning, with an emphasis on planning for natural hazards. Professor Olshansky has studied recovery planning and management after several major disasters. For over a decade, he and colleagues researched the recovery process following the Kobe, Japan earthquake of 1995, and he spent the 2004-05 and 2012-13 academic years as a Visiting Professor at the Disaster Prevention Research Institute at Kyoto University. His co-authored research report, Opportunity in Chaos: Rebuilding after the 1994 Northridge and 1995 Kobe Earthquakes, is available online.

Currently, Olshansky’s work focuses on developing theory and researching the processes of recovery following catastrophic disasters. He researched and advised the post-Katrina planning process in New Orleans, and his book, Clear as Mud: Planning for the Rebuilding of New Orleans, co-authored with Laurie Johnson, was published by APA Press in April 2010. He and collaborators have researched disaster recovery in Sichuan Province, China; Tamil Nadu, India; Indonesia; and Niigata Prefecture and Tohoku, Japan. In March 2010 he participated in EERI’s post-earthquake reconnaissance following the devastating earthquake in Haiti. He is currently working on a variety of publications to synthesize common lessons and themes of community-scale recovery following large disasters around the world. He has also published on landslide policy, hillside development planning, seismic hazard mitigation policy, and environmental impact assessment.

A member of EERI for over 26 years, he has previously served as Chair of the Public Policy Committee as well as other service roles. He is currently a member of the Learning from Earthquakes Committee and co-chair of the Resilience Panel.

Olshansky has a BS degree in geology from Caltech, and MCP and PhD degrees in city planning and environmental planning from UC Berkeley. Prior to his academic career, he managed a geotechnical engineering firm in the San Francisco Bay area, and he worked with an environmental research institute in Anchorage, Alaska.

EERI regional chapters, student chapters, and other members should contact Professor Olshansky at to request his presentation of the Distinguished Lecture.

EERI 2014 Technical Seminar Series – a Review


With about 240 participants, the 2014 EERI Technical Seminar Series focusing on the state of the practice for Performance Based Seismic Design (PBD) of Tall Buildings was a great success.

For the last decade, engineers in major cities along the West Coast have taken advantage of performance based design concepts to achieve structural designs of tall buildings that are not in strict compliance with the International Building Code prescriptive provisions. The seminar speakers, all at the forefront of the evolution of performance based design procedures, presented their experiences and state-of-the art-practice in their individual areas of specialization.

The presentations from this seminar series are now available for purchase from the EERI Knowledge Center and Online Store:

The seminar presentations gave a broad picture of the state of practice for the performance based design of tall buildings. Ron Hamburger (M. EERI, 1988) began with an overview of the history of PBD. Farzad Naeim (M. EERI, 1983) and Jack Moehle (M. EERI, 1981) followed with a presentation on the use of guidelines published by the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) and the Los Angeles Tall Buildings Structural Design Council (LATBSDC).

The focus then turned to seismological and geotechnical considerations with a presentation titled “Using Ground Motions and SFSI,” by Marshall Lew (M. EERI, 1978) and Jonathan Stewart (M. EERI, 1994) on the development of seismic demands in the form of both response spectra and ground motions for long period structures. Gregory Deierlein (M. EERI, 1989) covered structural analysis and modeling procedures used in PBD, after which two case studies of Tall Buildings were presented: John Hooper (M. EERI, 1987) presented Concrete Building Design, using the Salesforce Tower design as the case study. Leonard Joseph and Nabih Youssef (M. EERI, 1987) both presented Steel and Composite Construction design, focusing respectively on the case studies of Wilshire Grand Tower in Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Convention Center Hotel. Following the presentation of the case studies, Farzad Naeim and Jack Moehle gave an overview of the lessons learned from the Peer Review process in tall building design. Ron Hamburger concluded the talks with a presentation on the future directions of PBD, FEMA (ATC) 58, and moving present practice to the next level.

The technical seminar series was sponsored the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Co-sponsorship was provided by ASCE Metropolitan Los Angeles Branch, EERI Regional Chapters (Northern California, Southern California, and Washington), Seattle ASCE, Structural Engineers Association of Washington (Seattle), Structural Engineers Association of Oregon, and the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California.

Order the presentations from this seminar series from the EERI Knowledge Center and Online Store

2015 EERI Annual Meeting – Registration Now Open!

Register now for the 2015 EERI Annual Meeting! It will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, March 31 through April 3. Visit the meeting webpage to view the program, check out the great tours and workshops available, and reserve a room at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.

January 24th EERI Earthquake Reconnaissance Data Collection Training Workshop at UCLA

View Agenda for the 2015 Reconnaissance Training

Register for free at:

The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) Earthquake Reconnaissance Data Collection Training workshop will explain the role EERI plays in post-earthquake reconnaissance. It will provide a basis for involvement by workshop attendees in future reconnaissance activities after an earthquake in their area. EERI will present past reconnaissance efforts and the variety of ways membershave been involved in the past, including methods of data collection and management.

This also includes discipline-specific methods of evaluation of the safety and utility of buildings and critical infrastructure following a damaging event. The day’s events will include a speaker in each of the following fields: structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, and lifelines (bridges). The experts will provide methods for conducting field damage assessments.

Using the morning presentations, an afternoon field exercise will provide participants with the opportunity to test their reconnaissance skills and use of EERI field data collection tools around the UCLA campus. The training workshop at UCLA will serve as a model for future EERI training workshop, further standardizing data collection and reconnaissance efforts.

Contact Maggie Ortiz with any questions.


Friedman Family Visiting Professionals

Application now open for EERI Chapters to request visits from Friedman Family Visiting Professionals

EERI is pleased to announce the launch of the Friedman Family Visiting Professionals Program for the 2014-2015 academic year.  With generous support of an endowment from the Friedman Family, the program provides travel funding so expert professionals can visit your university and deliver a lecture that showcases their experiences in a professional career associated with earthquake engineering and earthquake risk reduction.

Student Chapters can choose from a list of 16 expert EERI professionals that span disciplines including seismology, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, insurance, emergency management, and public policy.  For a list of all professionals, visit:

EERI Student Chapters are encouraged to complete the application form to request a visit from a Friedman Family Visiting Professional at:  Note that the form requires you to rank your top three professionals and briefly describe reason for your choices in 300 words or less.

Review of Student Chapter requests will begin on December 11, 2014 and occur on a rolling basis until all travel funds are awarded.  All chapters are encouraged to apply before this date for the best chance of being selected for the program.  Depending on funding availability, approximately 6 – 10 trips will be funded for visits between January – June 2015.

For more information about the Friedman Family Visiting Professionals program, visit: