BUFFALO, N.Y. – Researchers will conduct a rare, if not
unprecedented, large-scale earthquake simulation to determine how
vulnerable panel walls within New York’s unreinforced
masonry buildings (row houses) are to temblors.
Designed to imitate the 2011 Virginia quake that rattled the
East Coast, the test will occur Feb. 19 at the University at
Buffalo’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering
Research (MCEER). The time of the shake test will be set by Feb.
Two 14-foot-tall walls, built with materials such as
100-year-old brick, will replicate turn-of-the-century row houses
(often called “brownstones”) found in New York.
Researchers will use an earthquake shake table within UB’s
earthquake simulation lab to mimic the Virginia temblor. They will
use the test results to validate numerical models that will be used
for seismic vulnerability assessments, such as for property loss
and human casualties.
To see a video preview of the test, visit:
Researchers expect the walls to fall apart and crumble to the
ground. The test will occur inside a laboratory.
While not common, earthquakes periodically hit the New York City
region, including a 5.5 magnitude temblor in 1884, according to the
U.S. Geological Survey.
“New York City is not a high seismic zone, but the risk
there is significant because of the existing infrastructure and
large population,” said Juan Aleman, PhD candidate and
Fulbright scholar in UB’s School of Engineering and Applied
Sciences. “With this test, we hope to learn how buildings
will react to a quake similar to the one that struck Virginia in
Aleman is working with Andrew Whittaker, MCEER director and
professor and chair of UB’s Department of Civil, Structural
and Environmental Engineering; and Gilberto Mosqueda, a former UB
researcher, who works as an associate professor in structural
engineering at the University of California, San Diego.
The upcoming test is collaboration between UB and the
International Masonry Institute.
The test will occur at Ketter Hall on UB’s North Campus.
Here is a map link:
Who to contact:
Media interested in attending the experiment are asked to
contact Cory Nealon, UB Office of Communications, at 716-645-4614