INDEPENDENT NEWS

"Plenty more earthquakes" to come

Published: Fri 10 Dec 2010 04:36 PM
"Plenty more earthquakes" to come
Canterbury University engineering expert Professor Andy Buchanan wasn't mincing his words in this week's Science Media Centre media briefing - he considers it a "fluke" that no one was killed in September's 7.1 quake in Canterbury.
The time of day - the quake struck at 4.35am on a Saturday morning - meant people who may otherwise have been hit by falling masonry and non-structural building facades were safely tucked up in bed.
But in a paper he and his colleagues contributed to for the Royal Society, he points out that some pioneering research conducted in New Zealand, particularly from the 1960s onwards, underpins building practices that have radically improved the earthquake resilience of New Zealand's buildings.
Professor Buchanan said similar-sized earthquakes in other areas closer to the Alpine fault line, such as Wellington, would most likely result in loss of life. Areas that required research focus in the wake of Canterbury were the effects of liquefaction, lateral spreading of soils, non-structural building damage and the impact of earthquakes on underground infrastructure and transport networks.
His comments came as a Greater Wellington Council report appeared estimating the city could face a death toll of up to 1500, severe damage to buildings and infrastructure and would struggle to cope in the immediate aftermath of a quake similar in size to the Canterbury quake. The paper this week sparked a war of words between Civil Defence and health authorities in the region on the preparedness of health services for a disaster.
Professor Buchanan for his part says many cities throughout the country face continuing threat from older buildings with unreinforced masonry
On the web:
The Press: Alpine shake 'no worse' say scientists
NZPA: Lack of quake deaths part 'fluke' and part good design
ENDS
Science Media Centre
Our aim is to promote accurate, evidence-based reporting on science and technology by helping the media work more closely with the scientific community.
The Science Media Centre is New Zealand's only trusted, independent source of information for the media on all issues related to science. Thousands of news stories providing context from and quoting New Zealand researchers have been published as a direct result of our work.
Contact science media center
Website:
Mobile:
Twitter:
YouTube:
Phone:
Facebook:
Email:
Postal Address:
PO Box 598, Wellington 6140

Next in New Zealand politics

Pharmac Director Quits Over Government's Treaty Directive
By: RNZ
Government Launches Military Style Academy Pilot
By: New Zealand Government
Human Rights Commission Urges Government To Heed HDC Report Ahead Of Royal Commission Findings
By: Human Rights Commission
Pacific Futures - Winston Peters' Speech Delivered At The International House Of Japan, Tokyo
By: New Zealand Government
Climate Change Minister To Attend Climate Action Meeting In China
By: New Zealand Government
PHINZ Opposes Insulation Standards Rollback, Advocates For Effective Building Standards
By: Passive House Institute New Zealand
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media