Engineers Assist with Earthquake Recovery Efforts in Mexico City

In the wake of the devastating Central Mexico earthquake on Tuesday, September 19th, a team of SOM engineers traveled to Mexico City to contribute to post-disaster recovery efforts. Shortly after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck, three structural engineers based in our San Francisco and Los Angeles offices—Abel Diaz, Patrick Murren, and Samantha Walker—set out to document building damage and provide technical support to local structural reconnaissance efforts. Edward Guerra, Associate Director at SOM, and architect Adrián Gracia, Design Director at Cuatro44, joined the team. Both Guerra and Gracia reside in Mexico.

One of the first international teams of engineers on the ground in Mexico, the group documented building damage patterns before the crucial work of cleanup and rebuilding began. The team also assisted local officials in assessing critical and significantly damaged structures. The information they gathered is being shared with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) in support of its mission to mitigate earthquake risk around the world. The team is also documenting its findings to be presented to educators, students, architects, and structural engineers, both in the United States and in Mexico.

SOM has organized reconnaissance​ teams in the aftermath of several major earthquakes, including the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the 1995 Kobe earthquake, and the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. On each mission, the information gleaned from documentation, combined with the research conducted by numerous organizations and professionals involved in post-disaster recovery efforts, is intended to help cities become more resilient against seismic events in the future. 

Following their research trip, the team produced a report to document their findings. Download the report—"Preliminary Observations in the Aftermath of the September 19, 2017 Puebla–Morelos Earthquake"—here