Nothing helps mitigate future disasters like past disasters.
And so as Mexico works to rebuild in the aftermath of two major September earthquakes, an ASCE Infrastructure Resilience Division team is traveling to Mexico City to gather information that will help engineers better understand how to make infrastructure more resilient.
“This gives us an opportunity to learn specifics about their infrastructure – how it performed, why it performed the way it did, how it affected community resilience,” said team co-chair Craig Davis, Ph.D., G.E., P.E., M.ASCE, Water System Resilience Program Manager for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. “What we gain out of that can be applied as lessons learned to different infrastructure systems across the country.”
The team of Davis, co-chair Allison Pyrch, G.E., P.E., M.ASCE, an associate geotechnical engineer for Hart Crowser Inc. in Vancouver, WA, Andre Ramos Barbosa, Ph.D., A.M.ASCE, Jeff Bruce, Aff.M.ASCE, Haizhong Wang, A.M.ASCE, and Janise Rodgers, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, will be collecting data in Mexico from Nov. 12 to Nov. 18.
Additionally, Aspasia (Sissy) Nikolaou, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, Thomas O’Rourke, Ph.D., Hon.D.GE, Dist.M.ASCE, Charles Scawthorn, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, and Stephanie Ells, EIT, A.M.ASCE, may travel to Mexico for additional work at a later date.
The team will investigate the performance and recovery of the lifeline systems in Mexico City following the Sept. 19 earthquake, which registered a 7.1 on the moment magnitude scale. The community resilience piece is especially important to Pyrch, whose Pacific Northwest home is expecting a major seismic event this century.
“How did the effects on engineering systems and infrastructure affect the community’s ability to both respond during the emergency and recover after the earthquake?” Pyrch said. “It’s really important to go learn the lessons of how the community got back up and running.”
The ASCE IRD team will work closely with Prof. Gustavo Ayala of National Autonomous University of Mexico, based in Mexico City.
The Puebla Earthquake of Sept. 19 happened 32 years to the day after the massive Mexico City Earthquake of 1985, further providing important data points for the ASCE research team.
“So this gives us an opportunity to learn what changes they made and how those changes improved or did not improve the performances of those lifeline systems,” Davis said.
“It’s just important to do what we can to enhance our understanding.”
The ASCE IRD team will be reporting observations and photos from the field throughout the week. Follow ASCE News for updates.
You can also follow the team’s work on social media with #quaketeamASCE.