U.S. Scientists Study Haitian Earthquake

SEATTLE, Feb. 24 (UPI) — A five-person U.S. team evaluating the magnitude-7 earthquake that struck Haiti Jan. 12 says much of the massive loss of life might have been prevented.

The team, led by University of Washington structural engineering Professor Marc Eberhard, said its main conclusion was that much of the loss of life could have been prevented by using earthquake-resistant designs and construction, as well as improved quality control in concrete and masonry work. The researchers recommended simple and cost-effective earthquake engineering be emphasized in Haiti’s rebuilding effort.

“A lot of the damaged structures will have to be destroyed,” Eberhard said. “It’s not just 100 buildings or 1,000 buildings. It’s a huge number of buildings, which I can’t even estimate.

“Usually when I go to earthquakes I find that the amount of damage is less than what appears on the television,” Eberhard said. “In this case it was much more.”

The report from the team that included Steven Baldridge of Baldridge & Associates Structural Engineering Inc., Auburn University Assistant Professor Justin Marshall, Walter Mooney of the U.S. Geological Survey and Georgia Institute of Technology Professor Glenn Rix is available at http://www.eqclearinghouse.org/20100112-haiti/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/USGS_EERI_HAITI_V1.1.pdf.

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