Earthquake engineering conference next week

As this week’s disaster in China shows, earthquakes are some of the most destructive of all natural disasters. Exactly how earthquakes cause such damage, how it can be simulated in the lab and what can be done about it is the topic of a conference next week in Sacramento. Experts on earthquake engineering and simulation will meet at the Sacramento Convention Center May 18-22 for the fourth decennial Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics conference, organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Conference topics will address how soils and the structures built on them behave during earthquakes, and how dams, levees, bridges, tunnels and other structures can be engineered to withstand earthquake damage. Sessions will range from basic research to specific case histories and new technologies for preventing earthquake damage.

Plenary speakers include Professor Thomas O’Rourke, Cornell University, on “Earthquake Engineering for Complex Geotechnical and Lifeline Systems”; Professor Raymond Seed, UC Berkeley, on “Seismic Evaluation of Levees”; and Bruce Kutter, professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis, who will discuss modeling studies of the Bay Area’s BART tube tunnel.

There will also be demonstrations of equipment for earthquake engineering research, including ground-shaking trucks and UC Davis’ large geotechnical centrifuge. The equipment show will be held on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 20, at the UC Davis Center for Geotechnical Modeling, part of the George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) funded by the National Science Foundation.

The meeting is organized by the Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Ross Boulanger, professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis, is chair of the conference organizing committee.

Conference registration is available online at

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