Christchurch Earthquake: One Year Later

TUESDAY, February 14, 2012
1:00pm – 2:30pm
KAISER 2020/2030

“Christchurch Earthquake: One Year Later”
By Dr. Ken Elwood, P.Eng.
Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

At 12:51pm on February 22, 2011, Dr. Ken Elwood was about to sit down for a seminar on Seismic Assessment of Existing Masonry Buildings in Christchurch, New Zealand, when a Mw 6.3 earthquake violently shook the city and brought Ken face-to-face with his life-long research on the seismic performance of existing buildings. Two reinforced concrete office buildings and hundreds of unreinforced masonry buildings experienced partial or total collapse, leading to 182 fatalities. The financial losses, estimated at $20 billion (NZ) or a staggering 13% of GDP, continue to grow as unpredictable aftershocks continue to rock the city. Ken remained in Christchurch to help with critical building assessments in the days following the earthquake and co-led a reconnaissance team from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute to document one of the most significant earthquakes in recent years for international building code development and seismic mitigation policy decisions. In this sem inar, Ken will relate his experiences in Christchurch and the numerous parallels with his past and ongoing research efforts, including some new directions initiated since returning from New Zealand.

As an Associate Professor in Structural Engineering at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Elwood is actively involved in research related to the seismic response of existing concrete and masonry buildings. Dr. Elwood received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002. He is Chair of the American Concrete Institute Committee on Seismic Repair and Rehabilitation and a member of several national and international code committees including the Standing Committee on Seismic Design which sets the seismic provisions for the National Building Code of Canada and the Seismic Rehabilitation Standards Committee for the American Society for Civil Engineers.