Reaching Others University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
Skip to Content
Official UB news and information for the media

In an Extreme Year, Extreme Events Researchers Gather at Quake Summit 2011 to Discuss Resilience Against Earthquakes, Multiple Hazards

Release Date: May 5, 2011

Related Multimedia

Quake Summit 2011 includes a field trip to UB/MCEER's ECLIPSE campus to view a full-scale bridge test of elastomeric seismic isolation bearings that support these 72-foot long concrete box girder bridges.

BUFFALO, N.Y. The 2011 earthquakes that struck New Zealand and Japan, research on improving nuclear power plant design, earthquake engineering research in the U.S. in the next quarter century and improving resilience of buildings, bridges and critical infrastructure are all on the agenda at Quake Summit 2011, Earthquake & Multi-Hazards Resilience: Progress and Challenges, in Buffalo, NY, June 9-11.

Quake Summit 2011 combines the annual meeting of the University at Buffalo's MCEER (formerly the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research) and the George E. Brown Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), funded by the National Science Foundation. It will be held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center and the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.

Geared toward earthquake engineers, hazards researchers and students and educators in these areas, the conference features nearly 100 presentations on the latest research in earthquake engineering and multi-hazards resilience. It is expected to attract more than 200 experts and students from throughout the U.S. and abroad.

For a complete program, and to register, go to http://www.quakesummit.org.

February's Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake and the March 11 offshore Honshu Japan earthquake and tsunami will be discussed during the June 9 opening plenary session at 5:30 p.m. This session is being organized by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, a national, nonprofit, technical society of engineers, geoscientists, architects, planners, public officials and social scientists.

A plenary session titled "Earthquake Engineering: The Next 25 Years" will take place June 11 at 8:00 a.m. and will explore recommendations of two National Research Council panels.

"Next Generation Nuclear Power Plants" will be covered in a breakout session on June 11, chaired by Andrew Whittaker, chair and professor of the UB Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. The session will feature discussions of methods to assess hazards and advance the structural design of Generation III+ and IV nuclear power facilities.

Whittaker, who says the session was planned prior to the devastating March earthquake and subsequent nuclear power failures in Japan, says it will be "a forward-looking session" that focuses on design of future nuclear power plants, rather than assessment of existing facilities. Presenters will discuss isolation and modular technologies, some of which have been developed at UB, for building new nuclear power plants.

Topics covered by other breakout sessions will include: mitigation of hazards to buildings, bridges and other structures of steel, wood and concrete; electric power substations; wind turbines; nonstructural components; lifelines and the general issue of improving resilience. Efforts to improve extreme events education will be addressed including a presentation on the UB/MCEER earthquake engineering seminar series in Haiti and platforms for sharing earthquake engineering and extreme event educational resources.

Representatives of NEES and each of the 14 NEES laboratories throughout the United States will be on hand to provide information and demonstrations on experimental, computational and online collaborative capabilities. Three workshops will showcase NEEShub features that facilitate research, online collaboration and data management.

Quake Summit 2011 also will include a continuing education seminar for practicing engineers that will review changes in earthquake design standards for construction throughout the U.S. The seminar, titled "Changes to Seismic Provisions of ASCE/SEI 7-10: Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures – Ground Motion, Structural, Non-Structural Components," is jointly sponsored by MCEER and the Buffalo section of the American Society of Civil Engineers and will take place June 9, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The meeting will end on June 11 with an optional tour of the test facilities at Taylor Devices, Inc., which develops large-scale viscous fluid dampers and UB/MCEER's Experimental Campus for Large Infrastructure Protection, Sustainability and Enhancement (ECLIPSE), where full-scale bridge tests with seismic isolation bearings will be performed.

Quake Summit's technical program chairs are Thalia Anagnos, professor of general engineering at San José State University, Andre Filiatrault, MCEER director and UB professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering, and UB's Andrew Whittaker.

More than a dozen UB faculty and staff will participate in Quake Summit, many of whom have traveled to countries and regions devastated by extreme events, as part of international efforts to improve the resilience of communities against earthquakes and other hazards. Disaster mitigation, response to extreme events and multi-hazard engineering are research strengths of the university identified in the UB 2020 strategic plan.

The George E. Brown, Jr., Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) is a shared national network of 14 experimental facilities, collaborative tools, a centralized data repository, and earthquake simulation software for state-of-the-art earthquake engineering research, collaboration and discovery of earthquake impacts on buildings, bridges, utility systems, and other critical infrastructure. The University at Buffalo Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL) is among the 14 NEES experimental laboratories.

Founded in 1986, MCEER, headquartered at the University at Buffalo, is a national center of excellence in advanced technology applications dedicated to reducing losses from earthquakes and other hazards, and to improving disaster resilience. One of three such centers in the nation established by the National Science Foundation, MCEER has been funded principally over the past two decades with more than $67 million from NSF, more than $47 million from the State of New York and more than $34 million from the Federal Highway Administration. Additional support comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, other state governments, academic institutions, foreign governments and private industry.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

Media Contact Information

Ellen Goldbaum
Senior Editor, Medicine
Tel: 716-645-4605
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @egoldbaum