Earthquake seminar addresses ways to lessen damage

The Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Structural Engineering continues its series of seminars and workshops on the topic of reducing the damage that would occur if a strong earthquake strikes the New Madrid fault area again.

The first program covered subjects of hazards, codes, vulnerability and strengthening of infrastructure.

The speakers were practicing engineers and professors with wide experience in seismic hazard mitigation, especially in Missouri and the surrounding vulnerable region.

“We reviewed such topics as history, geology, hazards, codes and enforcement, strengths of existing structures, as well as nonstructural components and lifelines,” said Phillip L. Gould, Ph.D., the Harold D. Jolly Professor of Civil Engineering and one of the seminar’s organizers. “Our intent was to raise awareness about earthquake hazards and preparedness before a very influential and vital audience.”

The first seminar and workshop, “Reducing Earthquake Damage through Mitigation,” was offered Feb. 12 at the Charles F. Knight Executive Education Center. Steve Besemer, earthquake program manager for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, gave a luncheon presentation to an invited audience of public officials at the local and regional level, followed by a panel discussion.

The seminar was scheduled during Missouri Earthquake Awareness Month and commemorates the anniversary of the New Madrid earthquakes that rocked this region in 1811 and 1812.

It was supported by a grant from the State Farm Insurance Co.

The next seminar is scheduled for mid-April. For more information, visit