New Report: Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence Reconnaissance Report

As a managing partner of the California Earthquake Clearinghouse, EERI, along with the California Geological Survey, operated a physical clearinghouse location in Ridgecrest, CA following the M6.4 earthquake on July 4, 2019. Over the course of the weeklong activation, the scientific and engineering communities came together in clearinghouse briefing calls to coordinate, collaborate, and share information. The Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence Reconnaissance Report is a product of this community effort to document impacts and share lessons.

The multi-disciplinary report captures reconnaissance findings from the first months following the main shock and includes sections from over 30 contributors. The report includes sections on geosciences, geotechnical impacts, lifelines, structural impacts, emergency response, clearinghouse operations, and data collection methods and products. The report features a close look at the extent of damage to manufactured homes, which emphasized the vulnerability of these structures, given the limited occurrence of damage to structures overall in the City of Ridgecrest. The report also includes several sections on data collection methods and products that show progress in collecting and coordinating post-earthquake data.

The report, along with many more resources, is available on the Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence Virtual Clearinghouse site. This report was published as a part of EERI’s Learning from Earthquakes program with funding from FEMA. Read the report here.

Webinar: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Improving Community Resilience to Natural Hazards

Webinar: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Improving Community Resilience to Natural Hazards

Wednesday, August 26 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET  
Cost: Free for EERI members | $50 for non-members (PDH hours included upon request)



You’ll hear from John W. van de Lindt, Ph.D., on a timely and important topic — moving from performance-based engineering to multi-disciplinary community resilience, in which engineering merges with social, economic, and information science. You’ll also gain an understanding of how the concepts and practice of multi-disciplinary community resilience are developing.

The webinar will use 15 years of whole building shake table tests of resilient and non-resilient wood-frame apartment buildings to enter this discussion from an earthquake engineering perspective. Resilient buildings and physical infrastructure support social and economic institutions within a community and are necessary to achieve urban resilience to earthquakes and other natural hazards. Interdependencies in these systems play a key role and act within networks, across networks, and across disciplines making modeling a complex endeavor. 

Van de Lindt will explore these interactions in a fundamental form for earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods. He will also cover how these complex systems are modeled, which metrics are tracked to identify stability and improvements in resilience, and close with a longitudinal field study being used to help validate these complex models.


John W. van de Lindt, Ph.D., is the Harold H. Short Endowed Chair Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University. He is the co-director for the National Institute of Standards and Technology-funded Center of Excellence for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning, headquartered at the university. 

Over the last two decades, van de Lindt’s research has sought to improve the built environment by making structures and structural systems perform to the level expected by their occupants, government, and the public. This has been primarily through the development of performance-based engineering and test bed applications of building systems for earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes and floods.

Van de Lindt led both the NEESWood and NEES-Soft project teams between 2005-2013, which consisted of two-story, four-story, and six-story shake table tests on the world’s largest shake tables. He serves on ASCE’s Executive Committee for the Infrastructure Resilience Division and Structural Engineering Institute. He has published more than 400 technical articles and reports, including more than 200 journal papers. Van de Lindt has served on a number of editorial boards and is the incoming chief editor for the Journal of Structural Engineering.

Free webinar: Advances in Seismic Risk Assessment using Simulated Earthquake Ground Motions

Webinar: Advances in Seismic Risk Assessment using Simulated Earthquake Ground Motions

Monday, August 10 at 11 am PT / 2 pm ET  
Cost: Free (PDH hours included upon request)


Presented by the EERI Younger Members Committee, this webinar will discuss recent studies that utilize physics-based simulations to identify the important characteristics of earthquake ground motions and expected structural response. Physics-based simulations of earthquake ground motions have steadily emerged as an alternative for seismic risk assessment of civil structures, particularly for regions expected to experience large-magnitude and rare earthquakes, for which few observational data is available.

Speakers will explore approaches in three regions in the United States: (1) shallow crustal earthquakes representative of Hayward Fault ruptures in the San Francisco Bay Area; (2) large-magnitude earthquakes due the Cascadia Subduction Zone in the Pacific Northwest; and (3) SCEC CyberShake earthquakes in the Los Angeles area. All studies utilize large-scale three-dimensional models that characterize the sedimentary basin in their respective regions. Panelists will also discuss the effects of the geologic structure on the simulated ground motions and the impacts on the structural demands and collapse risk.


Maha Kenawy is a postdoctoral scholar in structural engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research focuses on assessing the performance of reinforced concrete structures subjected to extreme events, and characterizing regional earthquake hazard and risks to the built environment. Maha holds a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Davis, and a M.Sc and B.Sc from the American University in Cairo, Egypt. She is the recipient of the 2016 ASCE O.H. Ammann Research Award in Structural Engineering, and the AUC Laboratory Instruction Graduate Fellowship. She serves as a co-chair of EERI’s Younger Members Committee and a member of the Student Awards Committee, and has previously served as president of the EERI UC Davis student chapter and secretary of the EERI Student Leadership Council.

Nasser Marafi is a Senior Modeler at Risk Management Solutions, Inc. in Newark, California. Prior to joining RMS, Nasser held a postdoctoral research position at the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, where he also earned his PhD studying the effects of large-magnitude subduction earthquakes on structures located in deep sedimentary basins. During his studies, Nasser received the EERI/FEMA NEHRP Graduate Fellowship, EERI Graduate Student Paper Award, and the UW-CEE Charles H. Norris Award.

Nenad Bijelić is a postdoctoral scholar at the Unit of Applied Mechanics, University of Innsbruck, Austria. He obtained his Ph.D. (2018) and M.S. (2014) from Stanford University and B.S. (2010) from the University of Zagreb, Croatia all in civil engineering. In 2012, he received a Fulbright Science and Technology award to study earthquake engineering in the U.S. His research is in the area of structural and earthquake engineering, focusing on dynamics of nonlinear systems and application of statistical and machine learning tools.

Earthquake Spectra Highlights – July 2020

The Earthquake Spectra Editorial Team recommends the following recently released OnlineFIRST articles.



Incorporating societal expectations into seismic performance objectives in building codes

June 9, 2020 | Alexa Tanner, Stephanie E. Chang, Kenneth J. Elwood

This opinion paper argues that seismic code objectives should reflect how society expects the built environment to perform in an earthquake. Social science methods can be employed to overcome the challenges of understanding what standards society holds for seismic performance… read more

RECOMMENDATION: Tanner, Chang, and Elwood (2020) note that currently, there is little known about what the public actually expects should occur post-earthquake, what risk tolerance levels are, and if the current building codes meet societal expectations. They go on to discuss the importance of incorporating societal expectations in building codes and suggest guiding principles on eliciting public perspectives.


Fragility curves for toppling of railroad locomotives

June 18, 2020 | Bruce F. Maison

This paper uses three locomotives that overturned (toppled) during strong earthquakes (>6.5M) as computer analytical case studies. The locomotives were at rest or traveling very slowly at the time of the earthquakes. Fragility curves are presented relating ground shaking intensity to the likelihood of toppling… read more

RECOMMENDATION: Bruce Maison’s paper answers the curious question as to what levels of shaking does it take to topple a standard gauge railroad locomotive. Overall, the shaking levels are higher than ground motions often experienced in the western U.S., and there are similar implications for freight and passenger cars with similar characteristics.




A global hybrid VS30 map with a topographic slope–based default and regional map insets

June 9, 2020 | David C. Heath, David J. Wald, C. Bruce Worden, Eric M. Thompson, Gregory M. Smoczyk

Time-averaged shear wave velocity over the upper 30 m of the earth’s surface (VS30) is a key parameter for estimating ground motion amplification as both a predictive and a diagnostic tool for earthquake hazards. This paper highlights the development of a new hybrid global VS30 map database that defaults to the global slope-based VS30 map, but smoothly inserts regional VS30 maps where available… read more

RECOMMENDATION: Heath and others present an updated USGS Global Vs30 map and underlying grids. The mosaic map is a hybrid of underlying slope-based Vs30 with smooth insets of regional or national Vs30 maps constrained by other means (Vs30 data, geology, geomorphology, etc.).



Post-earthquake hospital functionality evaluation: The case of Kumamoto Earthquake 2016

June 15, 2020 | Nebil Achour, Masakatsu Miyajima

This paper investigates the impact of damage on the performance of the healthcare service following the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes. The study connects earthquake metrics and the loss of healthcare service functionality and reveals the reasons for which facilities were totally or partially evacuated… read more

RECOMMENDATION: Following the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes where the stricken areas lost approximately 15% of their healthcare functionality, Achour and Miyajima found that the current building standards increased the performance of hospital buildings by approximately 10%; though more attention is needed to protect architectural and critical systems.




The role of risk measures in making seismic upgrading decisions

June 11, 2020 | Lukas Bodenmann, Panagiotis Galanis, Marco Broccardo, Božidar Stojadinović

This paper leverages advancements in financial risk management to examine the role of risk measures to quantify the seismically induced financial risk, measure the benefit of seismic upgrading, and relate the benefit of seismic risk reduction to a degree of the implemented seismic upgrade… read more

RECOMMENDATION: Seismic upgrading is an upfront investment without an immediate corresponding gain of the Property’s value. And, communicating benefits of upgrading is difficult without a framework to assess seismic performance in financial terms. Bodenmann et al. show that the selection of the risk measure in quantifying the losses avoided by seismic upgrading of an existing building is crucial in formulating systematic seismic risk mitigation policies.




Assessment of the seismic safety of school buildings in Mexico: A first look

June 11, 2020 | Sergio M. Alcocer, José C. Arce, David Murià-Vila, Luciano R. Fernández-Sola, Daniel A Guardia

This paper provides the first comprehensive review of the data and analysis on the seismic performance of school buildings in the aftermath of the 2017 earthquakes… read more

RECOMMENDATION: Alcocer et al. (2020) employ analysis of the observed damage at 12,444 public school buildings across 2,536 campuses in Mexico caused by two earthquakes in September 2017, where about 84% of building stock is made of masonry and concrete. By providing evidence-based information on the observed, measured, and calculated seismic performance (after static analyses) of Mexican school buildings, their study concludes with a series of policy and technical recommendations.

EERI welcomes Concrete West Construction as Subscribing Member

We are excited to welcome our newest Bronze Subscribing Member, Concrete West Construction, Inc.! Concrete West Construction, Inc. is a specialty contractor for existing buildings based in Southern California. CCW specializes in all aspects of structural construction and seismic retrofit, including concrete (sawcut, break/demo, excavation, rebar and pour), shotcrete, steel, rough carpentry, micropiles, and CFR.

EERI Subscribing Membership provides a unique opportunity for companies and organizations to publicly demonstrate their support for earthquake risk reduction, as well as valuable opportunities for recognition, networking, and access within the earthquake resilience field. Learn more about EERI Subscribing Membership here.

Remembering William J. Hall

Written by Steven McCabe (M.EERI,1983)

5 Honorary Hall Photo smallProfessor William J. Hall (M.EERI,1973), who was recently recognized as an EERI Honorary member at the Annual Meeting in San Diego on March 5, 2020, passed away on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Urbana, Illinois. He was 94. His death closes a remarkable life that took him around the world as he served his country, did research, worked on engineering projects, and to Urbana where he taught the next generation of engineers. Through it all, he remained a very good man. Kind, considerate, and a born teacher. One who put his wife Elaine, his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and his faith at the heart of his life. Bill was my doctoral advisor, my friend, and mentor over the past 40 years. Permit me a few lines of reminiscences about Bill.

William J. Hall was a long-standing member of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Illinois from 1954 to his retirement in 1993. He was the Department Head of CEE from 1984 to 1991. He advised 120 graduate students during his tenure, including 30 doctoral candidates. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and published over 200 formal publications and another 150 major consulting reports. He worked on a variety of significant projects including being a member of the design team for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, was a member of the US Defense Nuclear Safety Board, did frequent technical assignments for the Department of Defense and was the chair of the SAC Project Oversight Committee following the Northridge Earthquake. When you needed help, you called Bill.

Professor Hall was born in Berkeley, Calif., the son of Raymond and Mary (Harkey) Hall. His parents were native Kansans, both graduating from the University of Kansas in the early 1920s. His father went on to receive his M.S. and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1928 and then embarked on a remarkable career in biology and conservation. He became a renowned mammologist who was regarded as one of the foremost researchers of his era. Bill grew up in Lafayette, Calif. with his brothers Hubbard and Benjamin. All three brothers went on to obtain their doctorates; Hub in Geology and Ben in Biophysical Chemistry. All three went on to highly successful careers. Hub as the North Sea Oil Field manager for ExxonMobil and Ben as a chaired professor of genetics at the University of Washington.

Bill was proud to be a native Californian. He and his family walked over the newly finished Golden Gate Bridge the day it was opened. He became a midshipman in the US Merchant Marine Corps and served on board ship in 1944-1945 in the Pacific Theater of World War II. In 1944, the family moved back to Lawrence, Kansas where Raymond became a faculty member and director of the respected University of Kansas Natural History Museum. Following his time in the service, Bill enrolled at the University of Kansas and graduated in 1948 with his BSCE. After a short tenure at SOHIO Pipeline Co, he entered the University of Illinois and received his MS and Ph.D. under the direction of Professor Nathan Newmark.

I first met Bill through his research while I was a practicing engineer in the power industry. Bill and Professor Newmark developed one of the early probability-based design spectra in the early 1970s for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The so-called Newmark-Hall Spectra (Regulatory Guide 1.60) was the straightforward way one could get a good estimate of spectral demands based on a ground motion’s key parameters. With the few recorded ground motions available in the early ’70s and limited computational power, how do you provide a robust methodology to estimate the spectral demands for use in nuclear facility analysis for earthquake? I thought this approach was clever. Very clever.

When I decided to pursue my doctorate, I sought out Bill Hall and called on him unannounced in his office one day in Urbana. It was immediately apparent that he was a gentleman, a very busy gentleman, but was kind and considerate. We talked about what I wanted to do; he listened and the result was that he took a chance on me. A 30-year-old practitioner who wanted to join academia. This conversation began a 40-year friendship that included milestones in both our lives. His becoming a grandfather. His becoming the department head at Illinois. My graduating and embarking on my own academic career. Then later hearing him say how proud he was of me when I became Department Chair at the University of Kansas. High praise from one whose opinion mattered. A lot.

When I think of Bill, I think of someone who always had time to visit, always seemed to be in a good mood and was in a word, centered. He knew who he was and focused on making every day count. His mantra was to keep working and writing each day. Even if it wasn’t always the best calculations or written words, to keep at it and to keep moving forward. He learned this from his very accomplished parents, his brothers, and the many faculty members he had as a student. The lessons stuck with him and he more than paid back all those who helped make him who he was. His students and colleagues all got to see Bill Hall’s genius for doing many, many tasks yet always having time to visit with a prospective student. We are his legacy and some are all the better for being fortunate enough to be one of Bill’s students. Thanks, Bill. Well done.

EERI COVID-19 Update

Published July 1, 2020

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, EERI has extended our policy of canceling all in-person events, meetings, and activities until October 1, 2020. We will continue to monitor the latest guidance from the CDC to inform our organizational policies and operations and will keep you abreast of any developments. We’re confident that EERI can remain an important place for virtual connection and remote learning for you as we look ahead to the future beyond COVID-19. Thank you for your support and cooperation during these uncertain and challenging times.

Published March 15, 2020

Due to escalating public health concerns surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19), EERI has decided to cancel all in-person events, meetings, and activities for the remainder of March and April 2020. 

At this time, all in-person activities planned for May and June may remain in a tentative status or be canceled/postponed at the discretion of the EERI chapter, committee, or program. In April, EERI will revisit the extension of this policy for a longer time period and consider further event cancellations based upon the latest information available at that time.

The following scheduled activities have been canceled and sent official notices:

  • EERI Regional Chapter events
  • SESI Classroom Outreach visits
  • Friedman Family Visiting Professionals Program visits
  • Younger Members Committee visits
  • LFE Reconnaissance trips

Any other committees or chapters with questions should contact their staff liaison. EERI student chapters are reminded to follow the policies of their home university.
We have had no reports of suspected or confirmed coronavirus cases affecting participants at the 72nd EERI Annual Meeting. If we are notified by health officials of any tested and verified cases of COVID-19 that occurred during the conference timeframe, we will share that information with attendees. 
While this evolving public health situation is challenging our normal operations, we are still confident that EERI can remain an important place for virtual connection with colleagues and remote learning. Thank you for your support and cooperation amidst these new and challenging conditions.

Free webinar: Magna, Utah Earthquake Reconnaissance Briefing

Thursday, July 23, 11 am PT / 2 pm ET | REGISTER HERE

This Learning from Earthquakes webinar will provide an overview of the impacts from the M5.7 March 18, 2020 Magna, Utah earthquake. In this multidisciplinary webinar, you will gain insights covering science, engineering, and response aspects of the earthquake. You will also learn how the earthquake affected the natural and built environment, as well as about current mitigation efforts in Utah.



Barry Welliver (moderator) is the owner and principal engineer of BHW Engineers based in Draper, Utah. His involvement with the Utah Seismic Safety Commission dates back to 1996, first as an observer, then delegate for the Structural Engineers Association of Utah, and finally as Chair of the commission from 2002-2006. Barry was a member of the teams producing the first Putting Down Roots In Earthquake Country and Scenario for a Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake on the Wasatch Fault – Salt Lake City Segment publications. He is on the EERI Board of Directors and has held many other leadership roles within EERI and the Structural Engineers Association of Utah.


Jessica Chappell, SE, LEED AP, is an Associate at Reaveley Engineers, with 16 years of experience in structural consulting. She serves on the Utah Seismic Safety Commission, the SE3 Committee of the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations, the Technical Committee of the Structural Engineers Association of Utah, and the Education Committee of the Utah Society of Healthcare Engineers. Jessica has organized the EERI Utah Chapter Resilience Workshops and has represented Reaveley in a partnership with the University of Utah – College of Architecture and Planning for their Community Resilience programs.


Crystal Hulbert has been the City Engineer for Magna Metro Township since 2018. She began her career in heavy civil construction management, then to structural design for commercial buildings, and finally to civil design for residential homes. She has spent the last four years in municipal engineering. Crystal received her bachelor of science in 2006 in civil engineering.


Emily Kleber is a geoscientist at the Utah Geological Survey specializing in earthquake geology. She investigates how earthquakes and geologic hazards have changed the surface over geologic timescales, with expertise in the application of high-resolution topographic data (lidar) to geologic hazard mapping, paleo seismology, field geology, and geochronology. Emily is passionate about communicating and connecting with the public, earthquake scientists and engineers, emergency managers, and officials about earthquake geology and hazards in Utah. She has a B.S. in geology from University of California, Davis, and a M.S. in geology from Arizona State University.


Keith Koper is professor of geophysics and director of the seismological observatory at the University of Utah. His research interests include array seismology; Earth’s ambient seismic noise field; forensic seismology and exotic sources; rupture imaging of giant earthquakes; seismicity and tectonics of the intermountain West; mining induced earthquakes; structure and dynamics of Earth’s deep interior. Dr. Koper has published 83 peer-reviewed articles and been principal investigator on $11.52M of external research awards from many federal agencies. He serves as a member of the U.S. Air Force Seismic Review Panel, as vice-chair of the Utah Seismic Safety Commission, and as a member of the science advisory board of Eos.


Sean McGowan is the Earthquake Program Manager and Building Science Lead for FEMA Region VIII, collaborating with state and local leaders in the Rocky Mountain Region to mitigate earthquake risk and adopt resilient building codes. Sean works to enhance FEMA’s readiness for major earthquakes and serves as the subject matter expert for FEMA response efforts in the event of a regional earthquake – including along the Wasatch Fault. He is a Professional Engineer licensed in Colorado and has implemented international sustainable development projects in Mexico, Peru, and Ethiopia.


Trent Sorensen is the Chief Building Official for the Greater Salt Lake Municipal Services District, serving the metro townships of Magna, Kearns, Copperton, White City, Emigration Canyon, the Town of Brighton, and unincorporated communities of Salt Lake County. Trent believes in the importance of strong and relevant building codes and seeks to strengthen the relationships and responsibilities of key stakeholders in providing safe buildings for our communities. Prior to his work with the District, he spent 10 years working in the building department of Salt Lake County, and 11 years working in building construction in Southern Utah.


Ivan Wong is a Senior Principal Seismologist with Lettis Consultants International in Concord, Calif. with a 45-year career focusing on earthquake hazard reduction and public outreach. Ivan has directed the seismic hazard evaluations of more than 500 critical and important facilities worldwide including some of the largest seismic hazard evaluations performed in the U.S. Since graduating from the University of Utah, he has worked extensively in both consulting and research in Utah often collaborating with the Utah Geological Survey and the University of Utah. Ivan led the development of the first seismic hazard maps of the Salt Lake City urban area, was the chair of the Working Group on Utah Earthquake Probabilities, and is the chair of the Utah Ground Shaking Working Group.

Accepting Submissions: EERI’s Annual Undergraduate Student Paper Competition

EERI’s Student Awards Committee is excited to offer its Annual Undergraduate Student Paper Competition. This competition encourages the active involvement of students in earthquake engineering and the earthquake hazards community and allows emerging experts to share their research. The prize for each winner is a trip to the EERI Annual Meeting, recognition during the Institute’s Awards Ceremony, and the opportunity to meet and network with peers and experts in the field.

Deadline: Thursday, October 1, 2020, at 11:59 pm PT. Click here to access the submission form.


  • The paper must not exceed four (4) pages in length inclusive of all figures, tables, photographs, appendices, and list of references. Please note: final papers from other programs, such as REU’s, will be accepted if shortened to 4 pages.
  • The paper must be authored by the student alone. A faculty member or other advisor can provide feedback before submission of the paper but may not co-author the paper. The advisor’s name should be included in the “acknowledgments” section of the paper.
  • Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited U.S. college or university and must be U.S. residents.


  • Free registration to the EERI Annual Meeting
  • Recognition during the Institute’s Awards Ceremony
  • Up to $1,000 to cover airfare, ground transportation, and hotel costs associated with attending the meeting.

Earthquake Spectra Call for Papers on CENA Special Issue

Submission deadline extended to July 15, 2020.


Earthquake Spectra is soliciting papers for a special issue dedicated to seismic hazard in Central and Eastern North America (CENA). We welcome papers related to simulated and empirical data, analyses and modeling ground motion, or any other relevant topic having a direct impact on the estimation of seismic hazard for CENA and other similar stable continental regions.

This special issue will also include papers from the multi-year NGA-East Project that involved a large number of participating researchers from organizations in academia, industry, and government. This community-based project resulted in several products that will be featured in this issue, including the NGA-East ground motion database, and a new ground motion characterization model for the CENA region. Since the completion of the NGA-East project, many other research projects and activities have taken place which we would like to feature as well in this special issue.

Submission Process: Submit your paper in Earthquake Spectra‘s online submission system here. Please log in to your account if you have one or create a new account if you don’t have an existing one. Start a new submission under the “author” tab and then select “CENA Special Issue.”

For any questions regarding the submission process, email