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Earthquake Engineering Research Institute

Founded in 1948, EERI's mission is to reduce earthquake risk by (1) advancing the science and practice of earthquake engineering, (2) improving understanding of the impact of earthquakes on the physical, social, economic, political, and cultural environment, and (3) advocating comprehensive and realistic measures for reducing the harmful effects of earthquakes.

News of the Institute

Michael Mahoney to Receive the 2018 Alfred E. Alquist Special Recognition Medal

Michael MahoneyMichael Mahoney (M.EERI,1996) is the 2018 Alfred E. Alquist Special Recognition Medal winner. The Alquist Medal is awarded annually to an individual, company, or organization that has made substantial contributions to the field of seismic safety and earthquake risk reduction, having directly affected the seismic safety of the general population. The Alquist Medal recognizes career contributions or notable and/or singular achievements: a significant contribution to the public good is the primary selection criterion. He will receive the Alquist Medal at the 2018 70th EERI Annual Meeting and 11NCEE in Los Angeles, CA in June.

Mr. Mahoney is a Senior Geophysicist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a position he has held for 33 years. He currently serves as Project Officer for the FEMA Building Science Branch, leading FEMA’s seismic problem-focused studies, and has investigated a variety of earthquake-related issues to develop design and construction guidance under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). This work currently includes the development of FEMA’s Performance-Based Seismic Design Guidelines (FEMA P-58) and Seismic Evaluation of Older Concrete Buildings for Collapse Potential. His earlier projects include: the FEMA/SAC Steel Moment Frame Buildings Project after the Northridge earthquake, Quantification of Building Seismic Performance Factors (FEMA P-695 and P-795), and Seismic Evaluation and Retrofit of Wood Frame Buildings with Weak First Stories (FEMA P-807). Mr. Mahoney is also responsible for FEMA’s earthquake-related work with the International Codes, and has been involved in the model code development process dating back to 1984. He serves as the FEMA Headquarters representative to the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, where he led a project to develop guidelines for vertical evacuation refuge structures. He previously worked in FEMA’s Office of Loss Reduction where he managed the development of the first FEMA guideline for flood retrofitting and investigated building performance in disasters dating back to Hurricane Hugo. From 1978 to 1984 he was a Senior Loss Prevention Consultant with what is now FM Global. He holds a Masters and Bachelor’s degrees in physics.

Mr. Mahoney has been a steadfast advocate and supporter of projects that advance the application of research and practice of earthquake and tsunami engineering through EERI and ATC, BSSC/NIBS and CUREE, including the FEMA/SAC Steel Moment-frame Project, guidance for vertical evacuation from tsunami (for the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program), Next Generation Performance Based Seismic Design Guidelines, the EERI School Earthquake Safety Initiative project, and numerous other projects and publications that benefit the practice of earthquake risk reduction design and tsunami risk management. He is a friend of earthquake professionals in academia, practice, and government, and he has a passion for improving the practice of earthquake engineering through the application of research, post-event inspections, and design practice improvements.

He was selected for his exceptional contributions to advancing seismic risk reduction through a career designing and supporting FEMA projects that have led to major advances in professional practice, developed influential risk mitigation resources, and enhanced seismic safety both in the United States and internationally. In his 33 years at FEMA, he has produced more than 300 publications and resources. These resources have influenced mitigation work implemented at the regional and local levels, enhanced the knowledge of the public and decision makers about earthquakes and prudent earthquake risk reduction practices, improved the technical basis and validity of building codes and their provisions, and encouraged interdisciplinary collaboration amongst many professionals that has advanced the practice of earthquake engineering. These outcomes would not have been possible without Mr. Mahoney’s dedication to earthquake risk reduction, and his constant desire to seek improvement and change. Under his influence, the built environment is safer and communities are better prepared for earthquakes than would have been possible without his leadership. 


11NCEE - Register Early - tours, workshops, and special events are filling up!


The Eleventh U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering (11NCEE)

June 25-29, 2018

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites

Los Angeles, California

For questions about the 11NCEE, including information about government hotel rates, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


EERI 2018 Undergraduate Student Paper Competition

ribbon 125Deadline: March 15, 2018

EERI reminds students that the deadline for the Undergraduate Student Paper Competition is March 15, 2018. The purpose of the competition is to promote active involvement of students in earthquake engineering and the earthquake hazards research community, and we encourage student authors to participate. The general rules of the contest are as follows:

1. The paper must be directly related to earthquake engineering or earthquake hazard reduction.

2. The paper or extended abstract must not exceed four (4) pages in length inclusive of all tables and figures.

3. The paper must be authored by the student alone. In addition, 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 “acknowledgements” section of the paper.

4. Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited U.S. college or university and must be U.S. residents.

5. A registration grant for the EERI Annual Meeting, to be held at the 11NCEE on June 25-29, 2018 in Los Angeles, CA, will be made available to the winning author, in addition to a small travel stipend, as long as funds are available. The winning paper may also be considered for publication in Earthquake Spectra.

6. Application Process and Deadline: undergraduate papers must be e-mailed by March 15, 2018 to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

More information

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Member Spotlight

Kent Sasaki Reappointed to the California Building Standards Commission

Kent SasakiThis week, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced that Kent Sasaki P.E., S.E. (M.EERI, 1995), has been reappointed to the California Building Standards Commission, where he has served since 2012. Sasaki has held several positions at Wiss Janney Elstner Associates Inc. since 1989, including principal, board member and engineer. He is a member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Structural Engineers Association of California. Sasaki earned a Master of Engineering degree in structural engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Read the press release.


Manos Maragakis Honored with 2017 SIR Award from Nevada Construction Industry

Manos Maragakis
Manos Maragakis
(M.EERI,1984), dean of the University of Nevada, Reno, College of Engineering, was awarded the 2017 SIR award from the Nevada Chapter of the Associated General Contractors. The prestigious award, named for the AGC motto, “Skill, Integrity and Responsibility,” in its 51st year, is given to honor the men, women and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to Nevada, quality of life and the construction industry.

“This is a major community award; I’m very humbled, honored and excited,” Dr. Maragakis said. “I’ve always admired the people who have won this award; I never thought I would be receiving it.”

Read the full article.



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Webinar on Reducing the Risks of Nonstructural Earthquake Damage – A Practical Guide (FEMA E-74)

atc-logo-slideThe Applied Technology Council (ATC) is offering a free webinar: Reducing the Risks of Nonstructural Earthquake Damage – A Practical Guide (FEMA E-74)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Pacific
Presenter.‎ Michael J. Griffin, P.E. (M.EERI,1990)
Registration Fee: Free
1,000 registrations (sites) maximum

For more information, click here
To register, click here.

Natural Hazards Reconnaissance Facility Workshop: An Overview of the NHERI RAPID Facility

NHERI RAPID Facility Workshop VA 26Mar18Natural Hazards Reconnaissance Facility Workshop: An Overview of the NHERI RAPID Facility

MARCH 26, 2018, 8:30AM-5:00PM Eastern
Virginia Tech Executive Briefing Center
900 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington, VA 22203

The RAPID facility supports the collection of perishable field data from natural hazard events. The facility promotes reconnaissance-based science, shared resources, open data, interdisciplinary research, community engagement, and innovation to reduce the adverse impacts of natural hazards. This one-day workshop is intended for potential natural hazard reconnaissance team members and data users who want to enhance their knowledge of the modern reconnaissance instrumentation and tools available at the RAPID facility as well as best-practices for reconnaissance data collection, processing, and archiving. The workshop will provide an overview of the RAPID facility and how individuals and teams may use the facility. In addition, the rapid-fire workshop will briefly address NSF RAPID proposal preparation leveraging the RAPID facility, reconnaissance basics, field equipment and techniques, data workflows, planning missions, and legal ethics (including IRB guidance). The target audience is prospective users of the RAPID facility, including academic and government researchers (including Ph.D. students) and working professionals.

$90 Registration Fee (lunch is provided)


Other Upcoming One-day Workshops for 2018:

  • May 17-18, 2018 in Miami, FL (Joint workshop with the Wall of Wind) - tentative
  • June 25, 2018 in Los Angeles, CA

For more information on the RAPID Facility, please click here or email Jake Dafni at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Summer 2018 Internship Opportunities with San Francisco's Earthquake Safety Implementation Program

SFESIPInternships with San Francisco's Earthquake Safety Implementation Program are available for Summer 2018. The City and County of San Francisco's Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety study, completed in 2010, provided an analysis of anticipated impacts that likely scenario earthquakes might have on the City, including physical, social, cultural, economic and other factors. That study led to specific recommended actions to reduce those impacts. San Francisco leaders are committed to implementing those recommendations. Our program supports that implementation.

Persons who wish to be part of this internship program should be graduate students or recent graduates in the field of public policy, engineering, urban geography, communications, or another field that would link to a desired seismic hazard mitigation outcome. At this time, all internships are unpaid. This program will be conducted from June 4, 2018 through August 17, 2018. Interns will work at least 30 hours per week out of the EPICENTER in downtown San Francisco. Working with Office of Resilience & Capital Planning staff and professional colleagues, each intern is expected to define and accomplish one or more specific project tasks, as well as to participate in general program activities, including seminars, special activities, and field trips.

For more information including a list of some possible Summer 2018 Internship projects, and application instructions, click here.

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Resources from the Vault

March 11, 2011: M9.0 Tohoku Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Tohoku tsunami damageOn March 11, 2011, a major earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan.The magnitude 9.0 earthquake is among the largest experienced in modern times. The earthquake struck at 2:46 p.m. local time in Japan, and the shaking lasted for about three minutes.The causative fault ruptured over a length of more than 400 km, resulting in large amplitude and long duration shaking, and widespread tsunami flooding in Japan and elsewhere. Following the main shock, hundreds of large (M>5) aftershocks occurred,five with a magnitude greater than 7. As a result of the earthquake and tsunami, about 20,000 individuals were killed. It was estimated that about 210,000 houses were damaged,resulting in more than 160,000 displaced persons.

Photo: Elementary school near Nirashima - Damage to nonstructural elements in elementary school near Nirashima due to tsunami.

Photo Credit: Kritijan Kolozvari (M.EERI,2012)

EERI Member Resources: More resources can be found in the LFE Tohoku Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Clearinghouse where EERI members can read reconnaissance team reports and Earthquake Spectra articles, view photos and videos, and peruse other findings. Members can also view all LFE Reconnaisance Archives, or access EERI's Earthquake Photo Galleries through the Member Resources site. Non-members can preview the photo galleries here.

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News of the Profession

Links to Recent News and Views

Six (6) recent articles, stories, opinions, or reports from around the web

1oneOklahoma Oil, Gas Regulator Modifies Earthquake Guidelines (U.S. News & World Report) The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has developed new requirements for oil and gas operators in the event of an earthquake. Read more

2twoHow the Kaikōura Earthquake Contributed to Gita's Landslides (NZ Stuff) Scientists are trying to work out how big a factor the November 2016 Kaikōura earthquake was in last week's State Highway 1 landslides during the passage of former cyclone Gita. Read more

3threeEmergency Managers Are Well Prepared If A Fukushima-Like Nuclear Incident Happens In The U.S. (Forbes) In late January, Californians received a tsunami watch, triggered by a 7.9 earthquake in the Gulf of Alaska. To remind, Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crumbled on March 11, 2011. The earthquake didn’t do it. But the resulting tsunami sure did. Read more

4fourEarthquake Tech: Finding Fault Is Only the Beginning (Techwire) CEA Chief Mitigation Officer and Research Director Janiele Maffei (M.EERI,1992) addresses experts from government, academia and industry at a forum to discuss technology’s role in reducing residential damage caused by earthquakes. Read more

5fivePapua New Guinea Earthquake: At Least 14 killed Amid Landslides (BBC) A magnitude 7.5 quake struck on Monday, February 26, 2018, severed communications and blocked roads in the central region, hindering assessment of the scale of the destruction. Read more

6sixSocial Media Applications in Crisis Management of Natural Disasters: Lessons for the Arab Region (Arab Media & Society) This article examines the role of social media in crisis management of natural disasters as it applies to both governments and individual citizens. Read more

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Earthquake Engineering Research Institute
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