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News of the Profession

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

Last chance — submit a poster abstract for the 2021 EERI Annual Meeting

2021AM General Email

EERI is seeking poster abstracts for the 2021 Annual Meeting to be held virtually on March 23-25, 2021. Poster abstracts are welcome in the following topic areas: Structural and geotechnical engineering; seismology and earth science; lifelines; risk modeling and insurance; policy; social science; architecture and planning; and emergency management.

To submit your poster abstract please click here. The deadline for poster abstract submissions is January 18, 2021. Abstract submissions are limited to 250 words or less. Selected poster presenters will be notified in mid-February 2021. 

Virtual Poster Format: To ensure all aspects of your poster are viewable on a computer screen, presenters should create a “5-slide poster” instead of a traditional 36 x 48 inch poster. Posters will be accessible during the entire conference, so presenters should also be prepared to pre-record a short elevator pitch to accompany their poster, invite questions, and facilitate discussion. More instructions on how to prepare your 5-slide poster and elevator pitch will be provided if your poster abstract is accepted. 

Throughout the conference week, attendees can leave written questions/comments that the presenter can respond to at any time. Presenters are expected to be “at” their poster for live Q&A sessions that will take place on March 22, 2021 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm and March 24, 2021 from 4:00 - 5:00 PM PST. Each poster presenter will have their own virtual “room” to allow for chat or audio/video conversations during the live Q&A sessions.

Registration for the conference is required for all poster presenters. Presenters will be responsible for paying their own conference registration fees. Registration grants are available on a rolling basis for students, early-career academics, and early career professionals. If you haven’t already, submit your application here to secure a grant to secure a grant!

EERI staff transitions

Last month, EERI said farewell to Vida Samardžić, membership and publications coordinator, and Van Nguyen, membership and communications manager.

During her time at EERI, Vida made important updates to Earthquake Spectra’s workflow ensuring faster turnaround times and supported the journal’s transition to SAGE Publishing. She coordinated webinar production for the Professional Development and Younger Members Committees, and also supported the Oral History committee and Regional Chapters. Vida is now the Secretary of Creative Industry Association with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

Van led all recruitment and retention efforts and managed our communications priorities, including the Pulse newsletters, member communications, and social media. She also developed and executed communications strategies and tactics for various programs and projects, including annual meetings, Earthquake Spectra, webinars, regional & student chapters, and the oral history project. Van is now the Communications Director at the UC Berkeley Labor Center.

From all of us at EERI: Vida and Van, we wish you the best in your new roles!

If you haven't renewed, your grace period ends February 1

Renewal Email Banner 2021

As we start a new year, if you haven't renewed your EERI membership yet, please take a moment today, otherwise, your membership will end on February 1. With your EERI membership, you’ll continue to gain opportunities to build community and connections, expand your knowledge of the earthquake risk reduction field, and grow your leadership skills. Renew your membership by clicking here!

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Member Spotlight



EERI leaders featured in Cal Poly magazine

Three EERI leaders and Cal Poly alumni — Heidi Tremayne (M.EERI,2004), Jenna Williams (M.EERI,2017), and Anahid Behrouzi (M.EERI,2013) — were featured in the latest issue of Connections, the Cal Poly's College of Architecture and Environmental Design quarterly magazine. Read their stories here. 

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Earthquake Spectra

EERI releases special issue on the 2017 Puebla, Mexico earthquake

Spectra MexicoDon't miss the second special issue of Earthquake Spectra in this volume, focusing on the 2017 Puebla, Mexico Earthquake! This issue highlights the study of ground shaking, buildings, bridges, and geotechnical structures following the 2017 earthquake. The studies consider the performance of the built environment in light of the 1985 event including the seismological and geotechnical features as well as the performance of buildings and reconstruction efforts for critical facilities such as schools and infrastructure such as rails and tunnels. Consideration is given to the unique characteristics of Mexico City as well as how the various studies’ results may generalize to other areas with similar structures.

Guest editors for this issue are Lucy A. Arendt (M.EERI,2008) of St. Norbert College, Gilberto Mosqueda (M.EERI,2001) of the University of California, San Diego, and Sergio Alcocer (M.EERI,1987), of Instituto de Ingeniería, UNAM. 

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck on September 19, 2017 in the state of Puebla, Mexico causing widespread damage to small towns near the epicentral region and in Mexico City, approximately 120 KM north of the epicenter. Coincidently, this earthquake occurred on the 28th anniversary of the 1985 Mexico Earthquake, an event that had a profound impact on Mexico City with reported casualties up to 10,000. In the 2017 event, there were a reported 369 casualties with 228 in Mexico City. Forty-four buildings collapsed in Mexico City; most were located in the shallow soil depths of the dried lake bed that amplified the ground shaking. The majority of collapsed structures were constructed prior to 1985 before modern revisions to building codes. However, newer structures and retrofitted structures also suffered major damage. The series of earthquakes affecting Mexico City in recent years provide a unique opportunity to compare and contrast multiple events affecting the same region with strong amplitude shaking within the span of a few decades.

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Quick Quake Briefing: Croatia M6.4 Earthquake of December 29, 2020


Thursday, January 28 at 12 pm PT / 3 pm ET | REGISTER HERE

Cost: Free

Presented by the EERI Northern California Regional Chapter, this webinar will focus on the December 29, 2020, Croatia earthquake. The M6.4 quake was the strongest recorded in Croatia in 140 years and struck about 30 miles southeast of the capital Zagreb. The earthquake caused widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure, killed at least seven people, and affected hundreds of thousands. This quick briefing will provide an overview of the earthquake and first-hand accounts of its aftermath. There will be time for participants to ask questions. Look out for a more detailed EERI Learning from Earthquakes webinar later this year.

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Upcoming Resilience Advantage webinar

resilience advantage PulseJanuary 21, 11 am PT: Benefits of Resilient Design in New Construction

Don't miss this exciting, upcoming event in the dynamic webinar series, the Resilience Advantage, from Optimum Seismic and its partners. Designed to educate property owners, business executives, and community leaders on the importance of earthquake resilience, the webinar examines opportunities and challenges facing decision-makers evaluating ways to protect properties, businesses, and building occupants.  

The Resilience Advantage webinar series is designed to reach, inform, and inspire business owners, facility managers, or developers to take seismic mitigation actions. Engineers and earthquake risk mitigation advocates can use these webinars as a tool to prompt important conversations about seismic retrofit and performance-based design. Practitioners can also leverage the series to educate their clients on making a strong business case for launching seismic mitigation projects for their building and infrastructure portfolios. Learn more and register here. 

January webinar series from Kinemetrics

January 20, 9 am PT: Ground-Motion Recording Networks in Groningen, the Netherlands, and Development of a Ground-Motion Model for Induced Earthquakes

Kinemetrics newIn this session, Professor Julian J Bommer will describe the development of a ground-motion model as an integral component of a seismic risk model for induced earthquakes in the Groningen gas field in the Netherlands. This informative webinar + Q&A places particular focus on the installation, characterization, and operation of ground-motion recording networks in the field, including some unexpected challenges encountered along the way.

January 27, 9 am PT: Vibration-based Structural Health Monitoring: from Bridges to Wind Turbines

In this session, Dr. Filipe Magalhães will deliver a detailed overview of several dynamic monitoring programs developed with Kinemetrics equipment, including research-oriented and consultancy applications on bridges and research projects on wind turbines. This informative webinar + Q&A will describe the implemented monitoring layouts and the presentation of the developed monitoring software. Relevant results that enhance the value of structural health monitoring will also be revealed.

PEER publishes reports and data from major research initiative with CEA

PEER is pleased to announce the publication of reports and data from the major research initiative, “Quantifying the Performance of Retrofit of Cripple Walls and Sill Anchorage in Single-Family Wood-Frame Buildings." This was a multi-year, multi-disciplinary project coordinated by PEER and funded by the California Earthquake Authority (CEA).

The overall objective of the PEER–CEA project is to quantify the reduced building damage of single-family wood-frame homes with seismically retrofitted crawlspaces. The project objective includes providing scientifically based information (e.g., testing, analysis, and resulting loss models) that measure and assess the effectiveness of seismic retrofit to reduce the risk of damage and associated losses (repair costs) of wood-frame houses with cripple wall and sill anchorage deficiencies as well as retrofitted conditions that address those deficiencies. Details of the project description, working group tasks, reports, and data can be found on the project website at

A technical overview of the project is documented in PEER report 2020/12, “Project Technical Summary,” written by Evan Reis in collaboration with Yousef Bozorgnia, Henry Burton, Kelly Cobeen, Gregory G. Deierlein, Tara Hutchinson, Grace S. Kang, Bret Lizundia, Silvia Mazzoni, Sharyl Rabinovici, Brandon Schiller, David P. Welch, and Farzin Zareian. Detailed technical reports are published as PEER Reports 2020/12 through 2020/24.

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EERI Awards

Farzad Naeim to receive the George W. Housner Medal

EERI is pleased to announce that 2021 Housner Naeim Photo v2Farzad Naeim (M.EERI,1983) is the recipient of the George W. Housner Medal. The medal is awarded for extraordinary and lasting contributions to public earthquake safety through the development and application of earthquake hazard reduction practices and policies.

Farzad Naeim is President of Farzad Naeim, Inc., CEO of Mehrain Naein International, and Adjunct Professor of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. He received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering in 1982 and his J.D. with highest honors in 2002. He is a registered California civil and structural engineer, a member of the California Bar, and a patent attorney.

Naeim is the recipient of the 2007 Fazlur Khan Medal for lifetime achievements in seismic design of tall buildings from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat and the 2017 Bruce Bolt Medal jointly awarded by SSA, EERI, and COSMOS for worldwide contributions to seismic safety.

Naeim is a Past-President and an honorary member of EERI. He served two terms as the President of the Los Angeles Tall Buildings Structural Design Council. In addition, He currently chairs California’s Strong Motion Instrumentation Advisory Committee and Board of Expert Consultants of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). Naeim has published five textbooks, more than 160 peer-reviewed papers, and has developed 45 different software systems for earthquake engineering design and education. 

Yumei Wang to receive the Alfred E. Alquist Special Recognition Medal

2021 Alquist Wang PhotoEERI is pleased to announce that Yumei Wang (M.EERI,1989) is the recipient of the 2021 Alfred E. Alquist Special Recognition Medal. The medal is awarded for substantial contributions to the field of seismic safety and earthquake risk reduction, having directly affected the seismic safety of the general population.

For over 30 years, Yumei Wang has worked to improve disaster resilience of civic and lifeline infrastructure. With diverse experience and skills in geotechnical engineering, earthquake and tsunami preparedness, public policy, and media communications, her notable accomplishments include: 1) conducting the nation’s first statewide earthquake damage and loss study; 2) facilitating the development of scientific consensus on the nature and impacts of Cascadia earthquakes and tsunamis; 3) developing holistic seismic risk assessment and mitigation programs for Oregon’s public schools; 4) establishing state government regulations on the seismic safety of energy and water systems; 5) fostering broad awareness among policymakers and the general public of the need to prepare for Cascadia disasters. 

Wang worked for 26 years in the State of Oregon’s Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. She is Affiliate Faculty Senior Advisor on Infrastructure Resilience and Risk at Portland State University, where she works to address societal problems related to disaster resilience through innovative, cross-sector methods—engaging researchers, community members, industry, and policymakers. Wang was recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers with the 2018 LeVal Lund Award for Practicing Lifeline Risk Reduction. She served as a Congressional Fellow in the U.S. Senate in Washington DC and has appeared on various programs, including PBS NewsHour, NOVA, and National Geographic. 

EERI Honorary Members: Jacobo Bielak and Sharon L. Wood

EERI is pleased to announce that Jacobo Bielak (M.EERI,1976) and Sharon L. Wood (M.EERI,1986) have been selected as Honorary Members of EERI! One of the highest honors from the Institute, Honorary Membership is awarded to members who have made sustained and outstanding contributions to the field of earthquake engineering and to EERI.

2021 Honorary Bielak PhotoJacobo Bielak is Hamerschlag University Professor Emeritus at Carnegie Mellon University. His research deals with fundamental areas of earthquake engineering and engineering seismology, including soil-structure interaction (SSI) and the understanding and characterization of strong earthquake ground motion. His work has been published in prime journals in engineering and seismology, including EERI’s Earthquake Spectra. 

Bielak was the first to show that the response of SSI systems can be analyzed as the superposition of the response of equivalent fixed-base simple oscillators and to derive explicit formulas for the equivalent natural frequency and damping of such oscillators. Seismic provisions based on this concept now form part of the NEHRP seismic provisions. He was a pioneer in the development of high-performance computational tools for the modeling of spatially distributed earthquake ground motion in large basins, and the lead developer of the Domain Reduction Method for defining effective input forces for modeling earthquake impacts in urban regions, including entire building inventories.

He was a co-winner of the EERI First Annual Graphics Competition and of the Gordon Bell Prize for Special Accomplishment Based on Innovation. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Distinguished Member of ASCE, and a Fellow of the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics. He is also a Corresponding Member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences and of the Mexican Academy of Engineering.

2021 Honorary Wood PhotoSharon L. Wood is the Dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering and holds the Cockrell Family Chair in Engineering #14 at the University of Texas at Austin, where she previously served as the chair of the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering and as director of the Phil M. Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory.  Wood’s research interests include the design and behavior of concrete structures, earthquake engineering, and infrastructure monitoring.  She was a founding director of the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation Consortium and has served on federal advisory committees for the Department of Veteran Affairs, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, and the U.S. Geological Survey.  She is a past president of the American Concrete Institute and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.  Wood received her BS in civil engineering from the University of Virginia, and her MS and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

Anahid Behrouzi and Christine Z. Beyzaei to receive EERI Younger Member Award

We're pleased to announce Christine Z. Beyzaei (M.EERI,2014) and Anahid Behrouzi (M.EERI,2013) as the recipients of the 2021 EERI Younger Member Award! The award is given to early-career members who have made outstanding contributions to the Institute and the pursuit of its objectives — especially contributions that have improved opportunities for and increased the impact of younger members. Due to the nature of this award and its focus on encouraging young member participation in the Institute, the honor’s committee felt it was reasonable to select two winners for the 2021 award since the candidates were both so exceptional. 

2021 YMA Beyzaei PhotoChristine Z. Beyzaei, Ph.D., P.E. is a Senior Engineer with Exponent in Oakland, California specializing in geotechnical earthquake engineering. Beyzaei received her bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. From 2010-2013 she worked as a geotechnical engineer at Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers in New York City. Beyzaei is active in EERI, ASCE, and the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance Association (GEER). She was on GEER reconnaissance teams following the 2014 South Napa earthquake and the 2018 Anchorage earthquake. She serves on committees for school earthquake safety, continuing education, and innovative technologies and volunteers with the ACE Mentor Program to introduce high school students to careers in architecture, construction, and engineering.

Anahid YMCAnahid Behrouzi is an Assistant Professor of Architectural Engineering at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly). She received a B.S. in Civil Engineering and B.A. in Spanish Language & Literature from North Carolina State University prior to completing her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Behrouzi has held several positions of leadership in EERI including co-chair of the Seismic Design Competition, Student Leadership Council, and the Younger Members Committee. Additionally, she is the faculty advisor for the EERI Cal Poly Student Chapter, mentoring the next generation of earthquake engineers.

Craig Davis selected as 2021 EERI Distinguished Lecturer

Craig DavisEERI is pleased to announce that Craig Davis, Ph.D., PE, GE (M.EERI,1995), a professional consultant on geotechnical, earthquake, and lifeline infrastructure system resilience engineering, is the recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Lecture Award. 

The 2021 EERI Distinguished Lecture will explore how lifeline infrastructure system resilience is intimately linked to and supports community resilience through the services they provide.  Lifelines are interdependent socio-technical systems vital in the day-to-day operations of our communities, and their basic services essential for community recovery after earthquakes. They include water, wastewater, stormwater control, electric power, gas and liquid fuel, telecommunication, solid waste, and multi-modal transportation systems. This lecture identifies features making lifeline systems resilient. Examples are given on how to operationalize into practice.    

In his three-decade-long career at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Davis worked as the Departmental Chief Resilience Officer, Seismic Manager, and Geotechnical Engineering Manager. There he developed a comprehensive L.A. Water System resilience program. He has published more than 150 technical papers and investigated numerous earthquakes. He has served on professional committees, including the Building Seismic Safety Council, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction, and ASCE Infrastructure Resilience Division.

Davis has been honored with the ASCE 2016 Le Val Lund Award for Practicing Lifeline Risk Reduction and the 2020 Charles Martin Duke Lifeline Earthquake Engineering Award. He received a B.S. from the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and an M.S. and Ph.D from the University of Southern California, all in civil engineering.

The Distinguished Lecture Award recognizes EERI members who have made outstanding contributions to earthquake risk reduction. The award encourages communications and dialogue on important and timely topics. Stay tuned for more information on how EERI Student and Regional Chapters can request a local lecture.

Jonathan Buckalew awarded the Shah Family Innovation Prize

2021 Shah Buckalew PhotoEERI is excited to announce that Jonathan Buckalew (M.EERI,2011) has been awarded the 2020 EERI Shah Family Innovation Prize. With a generous gift from the Shah family, EERI annually awards the Shah Family Innovation Prize to young professionals and academics for creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit in the field of earthquake risk mitigation and management.

Buckalew’s career has focused on fostering more resilient communities by analyzing the retrofit of vulnerable building types and translating findings into local and state policies. Early on, he performed a comparative study of soft story retrofit guidelines with the support of a SEAONC Special Project Initiative Award. This work informed San Francisco’s soft, weak, open-front (SWOF) retrofit ordinance. From there, Buckalew co-authored the SEAOSC SWOF Design Guide to assist engineers with the implementation of the Los Angeles Soft Story Ordinance. On the state SEAOC Existing Building Committee, he helped establish criteria for the identification of potentially vulnerable structures, which were integrated into the proposed California legislation AB 429. Most recently, he is working to bring the voice of structural engineers into the interdisciplinary field of community resilience. 

Buckalew earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Master of Science in Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Materials from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a Senior Project Engineer at Nabih Youssef Associates Structural Engineers. He currently serves on the SEAONC Board of Directors, is co-chair of the SEAOC resilience committee, and participates in EERI’s Public Policy and Advocacy Committee.

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Learning from Earthquakes

New joint report on the M7.0 October 30, 2020, Samos Island (Aegean Sea) Earthquake

The Samos Island (Aegean Sea) earthquake struck at 13:51/14:51 local time in Greece and Turkey, respectively, on 30 October 2020. It produced wide-ranging effects including tsunami run-up, ground shaking with local zones of high intensity that led to the collapse of structures and 118 fatalities in both countries, and various geotechnical effects including liquefaction, rockfalls, and landsliding. 

The earthquake occurred during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic forced a different response than would be typical for an earthquake of this size. With global travel restricted, international agencies did not send reconnaissance teams to the region. However, in Greece, the Hellenic Association of Earthquake Engineering (HAEE/ETAM) mobilized a 12-member team to Samos Island and neighboring islands in two successive missions. Similarly, the Earthquake Engineering Association of Turkey and the Earthquake Foundation of Turkey (EEAT/EFT) mobilized teams to affected regions of the Aegean coast. These teams focused on the severely impacted city of Izmir.

This report represents a collaborative effort between Greece, Turkey, and the USA to improve understanding of the event by collectively integrating data and interpreting field evidence. EERI’s Learning from Earthquakes program published this report with funding from FEMA. The report, along with many more resources, is available on the Learning from Earthquakes website.

EERI Response to M6.4 December 29, 2020, Croatia Earthquake

As part of the Learning from Earthquake program, EERI is partnering with StEER and colleagues in Croatia to develop a preliminary reconnaissance report. An initial report from EERI members Nenad Bijeliić, Ph.D., École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and Svetlana Brzev, Ph.D., University of British Columbia provides early information about the earthquake:

Around noon of December 29, 2020 (local time: 12:19 pm), a magnitude 6.4 earthquake occurred near Petrinja, Croatia, with the epicentre located 47km southeast of Croatia’s capital Zagreb. Three foreshocks hit the same area on the day before, the largest foreshock being magnitude 5.0. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges for emergency response as well as for evacuation of the affected population.  

Although Petrinja, with its population of about twenty-four thousand, is less densely populated than the capital, its building stock is particularly vulnerable since it primarily consists of (unreinforced) masonry buildings. There is widespread destruction in Petrinja, and significant damage in the neighboring town of Sisak rendered the main hospital unusable. There are also reports of damage reaching as far as the northernmost part of Croatia. In Zagreb, some 50km north of Petrinja, in addition to the damage to government buildings, a children’s hospital had to evacuate, and the primary maternity clinic, the one evacuated after the March 2020 earthquake, suffered more damage. Large parts of Zagreb had no electricity, with frequent shortages still ongoing. There are reports of damage to chimneys in the northernmost part of Croatia and the Krško nuclear power plant, located in the neighboring Republic of Slovenia, temporarily ceased operation (in this case, a routine procedure as performed in significant disasters).

The full summary is available here. Several other resources on the earthquake are available in the EERI LFE Earthquake Archive.

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