Seminar to address ways to lessen earthquake damage

Missouri earthquake awareness month

The Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Structural Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis is presenting a series of seminars and workshops on the topic of reducing the damage that would occur when a strong earthquake strikes the New Madrid fault area again.

The program will cover the subjects of hazards, codes, vulnerability and strengthening of infrastructure. The speakers are practicing engineers and professors with wide experience in seismic hazard mitigation, especially in Missouri and the surrounding vulnerable region.

The first seminar and workshop will be offered on Feb. 12, 2008, at the Charles F. Knight Executive Education Center on the Washington University Danforth Campus. The seminar runs from 10 a.m. until noon with a luncheon presentation by Steve Besemer, earthquake program manager for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (MoSEMA). This will be followed by a panel discussion between 1 and 2 p.m.

The seminar, “Reducing Earthquake Damage through Mitigation,” is scheduled during Missouri Earthquake Awareness Month and commemorates the anniversary of the New Madrid earthquakes that rocked this region in 1811 and 1812 and is supported by a grant from the State Farm Insurance Company. The program is targeted toward an invited audience of public officials at the local and regional level. I”We will be reviewing such topics as history, geology, hazards, codes and enforcement, strengths of existing structures, as well as non-structural components and lifelines,” said Phillip L. Gould, Ph.D., the Harold D. Jolly Professor of Civil Engineering and one of the seminar organizers. “Our intent is to raise awareness about earthquake hazards and preparedness before a very influential and vital audience.”

The full agenda and directions to campus sre posted on the website:

All participants in the seminars and workshops will receive handout materials based on speaker presentations. Similar materials will be available on the program website.

While media members can attend to conduct interviews, admission to the event is by invitation.

For more information, contact:
Tony Fitzpatrick
(314) 935-5272