SOM Structural Engineering Team Visits Anchorage in Wake of Earthquake

On Friday, November 30th, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Anchorage, Alaska. In the days following, SOM engineering team Samantha Walker and Patrick Murren visited the affected area to chronicle building performance, view damaged buildings, and collaborate with the structural and earthquake engineering communities at large. The two engineers spent several days in Anchorage and south-central Alaska and documented their observations in a white paper. 

The research describes the seismology of south-central Alaska, and provides context for the team’s findings in relation to the Good Friday Earthquake of 1964. In collaboration with local structural and geotechnical engineers, the information gathered by Walker and Murren is being shared with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) reconnaissance teams in support of the organization’s mission to mitigate earthquake risk around the world.

Walker and Murren previously collaborated on reconnaissance efforts in the wake of the 2017 Central Mexico earthquakes. SOM has organized reconnaissance teams in the aftermath of several other major earthquakes, including the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the 1995 Kobe earthquake, and the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The objectives of these trips are: to observe damage and apparent building behavior; to understand and explain the reasons for observed damage; and to share the information gathered with other building professionals, researchers, and organizations in order to improve the state of knowledge on building performance in earthquakes so that cities can be made more resilient.

Download the report—"Preliminary Observations in the Aftermath of the November 30, 2018 Anchorage, Alaska Earthquake"—here.