August 18, 2008: Wenchuan Earthquake Seminar

In collaboration with the University of California, The City of San Francisco, PEER's Business Industry Partners, PG&E, SEAONC and EERI, PEER organized a seminar on August 18, 2008 that discussed observations and lessons learned about the May 12, 2008 magnitude 7.9 Wenchuan Earthquake in eastern Sichuan, China from the perspective of Chinese and American experts who had visited the affected region.

After an introduction by Stephin Mahin, a PEER researcher and Professor of Structural Engineering at UC Berkeley, San Francisco City Administrator Edwin Lee gave quick welcome and introduction to the City of San Francisco’s new joint private-public China Technical Partnership Program aimed at assisting the Chinese design and rebuild seismically safe buildings and infrastructure in the aftermath of the earthquake. Next, Zifa Wang, Director at the Institute of Engineering Mechanics in the China Earthquake Administration, discussed the strong ground motion records, the damage to engineered structures and other infrastructures, the post-event survey conducted by the China Earthquake Administration, and the loss estimation and damage distribution findings from the perspective of the Chinese government.

Following Wang, six United States experts who had visited the affected area individually presented their findings and conclusions. A panel discussion plus question and answer session with audience participation concluded the event. In total the event was attended by nearly 200 people including seismologists, geologists, structural and civil engineers, policy makers and the public.

To find out more about the seminar, see the video of the event, the speaker presentations, and media coverage. To read reconnaissance reports from PEER researchers and colleagues, see the Wenchuan Earthquake news page.


  • University of California
  • City and County of San Francisco
  • PEER business Industry Partners
  • PGE
  • EERI