News Archive

Oregon State University Wins 2007 Seismic Design Competition

Of the 14 competing student teams, Oregon State University took first place in the 4th Annual Seismic Design Competition for Undergraduates, jointly sponsored by the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER), Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), Mid-America Earthquake (MAE) Center and MCEER. The event, held during the EERI Annual Meeting, February 7-10, in Los Angeles, was an opportunity to demonstrate performance-based, cost-effective seismic design. Read more.

2007 Niigata Chuetsu-oki Earthquake, Field Reconnaissance Report | Report 537 KB

Field Reconnaissance on the Damage of Transportation Facilities in the 2007 Niigata Chuetsu-oki Earthquake | Report 2.46 MB

GEER Team Responds to Niigata-Ken-Oki Earthquake of July 16

A select group of GeoEngineering Earthquake Reconnaissance (GEER) Association members, including PEER representatives, along with EERI LFE and ASCE TCLEE teams, will prepare a unified report on the effects of the Niigata-Ken-Oki Earthquake that occurred on July 16, 2007. Also involved will be other U.S. organizations such as the NRC, the NSF Earthquake Engineering Research Centers, and state organizations. This effort will be coordinated with the appropriate Japanese authorities and earthquake engineers.

The team is composed of both senior and junior geo-engineers including Robert Kayen (team leader) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); Scott Ashford of Oregon State University (OSU); Scott Brandenburg of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA); Brian Collins of USGS; Steve Dickenson of OSU; and Yohsuke Kawamata of OSU. An effort was made to bring in members who had not been supported on recent NSF-supported reconnaissance efforts, while ensuring that some with experience in recent post-earthquake reconnaissance efforts in Japan were included.

Questions concerning this report may be directed to Rob Kayan of USGS at, or Jonathan Bray of the University of California, Berkeley, at

Disaster Plan Relying on Ferries Floated

by Erik N. Nelson

Article Launched: 08/11/2007 03:02:19 AM PDT

SAN FRANCISCO -- Officials invoked the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the MacArthur Maze meltdown and Hurricane Katrina in their testimonials Friday for the idea of a waterborne emergency response system for the Bay Area.

Transportation officials all the way up to Caltrans Director Will Kempton testified at the San Francisco Ferry Building for a state Senate select committee that included Sen. Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch.

Torlakson is the author of Senate Bill 976, which directs the Bay Area Water Transit Authority to focus on operating a regional water transit system and coordinating the system's emergency response in the event of a disaster such as a major earthquake or terrorist attack.

Until the replacement of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge -- closed for a month after the 1989 quake -- is expected to be completed in 2013, the existing 71-year-old span will remain vulnerable to failure in another earthquake, warned Jack Moehle, director of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center at UC Berkeley.

A major temblor along the Hayward fault could also cripple BART and cause devastation on par with the 1995 Kobe, Japan, earthquake, which killed thousands, collapsed expressways and shut down railways and port facilities.

"We will be reminded that the Bay that defines our region also divides us," said Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council of major business executives. On the other hand, those same waters could also reunite the area with a coordinated use of ferries, he said.

But assembling an adequate emergency water transit system could take 30 years if done in a "business-as-usual way," he added.

"We need money and we need it soon," Wunderman told Torlakson. "We need to act now as if the emergency had already happened," to avoid the kind of ineffectual response that doomed New Orleans residents after Hurricane Katrina.

The council is backing a major expansion of ferry service in the Bay Area intended to provide alternative transportation during an emergency. The plan calls for new ferries, floating docks and other facilities and equipment totaling as much as $1.6 billion.

Even though the area's transportation arteries rebounded from Loma Prieta fairly quickly, that likely won't be the case in a stronger, closer quake, Moehle said.

"The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, I believe, lulled Bay Area residents and officials into thinking they can survive 'the Big One.' The Loma Prieta earthquake was not the Big One," Moehle said.

Many of the area's freeways are on what could literally be called shaky ground -- Bay flats that were filled in and are now subject to liquefaction, Moehle said.

He said that although watercraft are capable of transporting medics, firefighters and commuters after a disaster, such transportation will need reliable land access -- not just boats and docks but also roads leading to those docks.

Bill McCammon, former Alameda County fire chief, praised the value of centralized control of a water transit system during a disaster, but he cautioned that the Water Transit Authority needs to closely coordinate with local emergency services managers to make sure the system will meet their needs.

Kempton, the Caltrans director, said a water transit system would be helpful during a disaster.

"You can't be too prepared in an emergency," Kempton said.

In addition, having a larger network of ferries would help keep people moving when there is no disaster, he said outside the hearing room.

"There's no question that there will be damage to the transportation structures in the Bay Area and we will need to respond quickly," he said. "The water isn't going to go away when there's an earthquake."

"The more transportation facilities we have, the better the functioning of the overall system," he said.

Call For Papers: Earthquake Spectra's Special Issue on NGA

The journal Earthquake Spectra will be publishing a special issue on results obtained from the Next Generation Attenuation (NGA) project. Papers are invited on the ground motion prediction equations developed through the NGA project, the characteristics of the database developed during the project, the simulation exercises conducted to support the development of the prediction models, and other related subjects. All papers should be submitted through the Earthquake Spectra manuscript submission web page at When the manuscript is uploaded, authors must select "Special Issue on NGA" from the drop down list for special issues.

The cover letter accompanying your manuscript should clearly indicate that the paper is being submitted for review and possible publication in the NGA special issue of Earthquake Spectra. All papers to be reviewed for the special volume must be received by July 1, 2007.  We expect to have preliminary review decisions by September 2007 and final decisions on revised papers by December 2007. The special volume should appear in print in March 2008. Papers without a clear link to the NGA project will not be reviewed for this special issue. Questions regarding paper content or submission procedures should be directed to the Guest Editors for the special volume, Jonathan Stewart (, Ralph Archuleta (, or Maurice Power ( Prospective authors are encouraged to send abstracts of their articles by email to the guest editors prior to formal manuscript submission so that the suitability of the paper topic to the special issue can be evaluated.

Call for Papers: Sixth International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering and Symposium in Honor of Professor James K. Mitchell

Arlington, VA (USA) - August 11-16, 2008


Papers are invited on the New Theme as:

11a. Application of Case Histories in Education;
How Case Histories have been incorporated in coursework; How to Conduct Search for Case Histories, and what are the Major Sources, Examples of Specific use/s: Importance of Teaching Case Histories; From Case Histories to Conceptual Models; Importance of Practical Experience of Professors, Use of Case Histories in Teaching Process, Is it possible to Involve Students in Case Histories (i.e. in Engineering Practice)?

11b. Application of Case Histories to Practice;
Use of Case Histories to Enhance Practical Geotechnical Engineering; Practice in Different Offices to Achieve this Objective with Examples; Importance of Lifelong Learning; Use of Case Histories in Life Long Learning; Establishing an International Database for Case Histories

Please send your abstracts by July 15, 2007. Complete manuscript of paper/s is due by December 1, 2007.

Please send your abstract to:

If you have any questions, please contact Shamsher Prakash, Conference Chairman, at

PS - Past proceedings of University of Missouri – Rolla, conferences on Case Histories and Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering conferences are offered on discount to clear inventory. Please visit conference web site to see Table of Contents of available conferences and the order form.

PEER's Summer Interns Assist with Key Research Projects

PEER is hosting five interns at UC Berkeley this summer. These students will learn about earthquake engineering and how to conduct research experiments on civil engineering applications. The students are Veronica Crothers from San Francisco State University; Kristopher Darnell of the University of Texas at Austin; Daniel Lombardi of Syracuse University; Nicholas Trombetta of the University of Virginia; and Orry Zumbiel of the University of Kentucky. Daniel, Nicholas and Orry will work with Professor Jack Moehle; Veronica will assist Professor Steve Mahin; and Kristopher will work with Professor Jonathan Bray. In addition to these interns, there are eight students being hosted at various other PEER core institutions.

NEES Grand Challenge researchers receive 2007 SEAONC Award of Merit

NEES Grand Challenge researchers have received a 2007 SEAONC Award of Merit for their work in developing revisions for the new ASCE/SEI 41 standard on seismic rehabilitation of buildings.

ASCE/SEI 41 Supplement resulting from seminar series

April 1 Deadline Fast Approaching for PEER and REU Summer Internships

The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) Education Program is pleased to offer exciting opportunities for undergraduate students to explore new directions in earthquake engineering studies through the PEER Summer Internship Program and the National Science Foundation-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Summer Internship Program.

The internship programs are targeted to upper-division students who have completed junior-level courses in engineering or a related field. PEER will consider applicants from other grade levels. The programs are intended to provide research opportunities for undergraduates who have shown an interest in earthquake engineering, demonstrated a high level of academic performance (generally GPA = 3.0 above), and whose presence would enhance the diversity of PEER. Although PEER seeks racial, ethnic, and gender diversity, California law prohibits preferential treatment of individuals or groups on the basis of race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin. Consequently, selection of award recipients is not based on these criteria.

Interns will spend ten weeks (400 hours) at a PEER core university working directly with a faculty mentor on a PEER-funded research project directly related to the PEER mission of Performance- Based Earthquake Engineering. Each program runs from May 15 to September 15, with individual schedules to be arranged between interns and their mentors. Interns will receive a stipend of $6,000, which is intended to cover travel to/from the host university, and living expenses.

Students will compile technical and anecdotal information throughout the summer and submit a final report by October 1. Students will also present their summer research results by PowerPoint presentation or poster at an undergraduate research symposium.

Complete descriptions, eligibility requirements and application instructions for each program can be found on the PEER website, at The application deadline is April 1. However, applications will be reviewed as received and will continue on a rolling basis until all internships are awarded. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early.

For questions, please contact:
Linda Nelson
PEER Education Program Manager
Department of Structural Engineering
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0085
(858) 822-1344 Phone
(858) 822-2260 Fax

EERI Southern california Chapter
Next Generation Ground Motion Attenuation (NGA)
Dr. Presented by Dr. Yousef Bozorgnia
Associate Director, PEER Center, Berkeley

Wednesday, February 21 at Noon
Southern California Earthquake Center
USC Campus - Zumberge Hall of Science
Lunch provided free for So Cal Chapter members
$5 for non members
Contact Mark Bentien for details and maps

CSMIP Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

The California Strong Motion Instrumentation Program (CSMIP) of the California Geological Survey in the Department of Conservation is funding data interpretation projects focusing on the analysis and interpretation of the extensive strong-motion data sets recorded from recent earthquakes. The goal of these projects is to further the understanding of strong ground shaking and the response of buildings and other structures, and to increase the utilization of strong-motion data in improving post-earthquake response, seismic code provisions and seismic design practices. To receive a copy of the Request for Qualifications (RFQ), send e-mail to Judith Arebalos at or send a request to Data Interpretation Project, California Strong Motion Instrumentation Program, 801 K Street, MS 13-35, Sacramento, CA 95814-3531.

Deadline: February 20, 2007, 5:00 p.m.
Phone Number: 916-322-3105
Fax Number: 916-323-7778

Kleinfelder, Inc. becomes an official BIP member

Kleinfelder logo

Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) Receives $3.6 Million NSF NEES Grand Challenge Grant

The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) has been awarded a five-year, $3.6 million NEES Grand Challenge grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the collapse potential of older nonductile concrete buildings during earthquakes. These buildings are pervasive throughout the U.S. and other countries, and are considered a high risk. The project will fully utilize the George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). Read More.

Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) is releasing updated reports on Next Generation Attenuation (NGA) Models:

Next Generation Attenuation Models NGA

PEER-Sponsored Lifelines Researcher, Brian Chiou, Receives Roberts Best Paper Award

The James Roberts Best Paper Award was presented to Brian Chiou of the California Department of Transportation at the Fifth National Seismic Conference on Bridges & Highways, in San Mateo, in September. Read More.


SGH logoSimpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc. (SGH) becomes an official BIP member.

Scenes from PEER's Open House

PEER recently celebrated its move from the Richmond Field Station to Davis Hall on the UC Berkeley campus.

View our photo collection...

OpenSees Days 2006

The presentations from OpenSees Days 2006 are now available.

PEER Offices Relocate to Davis Hall at University of California, Berkeley

PEER Offices Relocate to Davis Hall at University of California, Berkeley

Davis Hall

Please visit us soon:

325 Davis Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley CA 94720-1792
Tel.: (510) 642-3437
Fax: (510) 642-1655

Select meetings and special events will take place at the Richmond Field Station.

New staff phone numbers

Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) is releasing interim reports on Next Generation Attenuation (NGA) Models:


ABC News Covers Research on New Isolation Bearings

UC Berkeley's Earthquake Engineering Research Center ran a series of shake table tests using a three-story tall, braced steel frame to demonstrate the effects of the new type of bearing with a low-friction slider having moderate initial stiffness.

Test results will help understand base isolation applications of the PEER performance-based earthquake engineering methodology.

Read ABC's full story and see the June 15 broadcast.

View entire test structure.

PEER Director Moehle Receives Honorary Membership

PEER Director Jack Moehle has been named an honorary member of the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California. This designation by the Board of Directors is a special recognition of Moehle's contribution to the excellence of the structural engineering profession.

He was specifically cited for his contributions in education of a generation of structural engineering students; innovative and practical research in a broad range of subjects in earthquake engineering; and leadership and contributions in development of structural engineering codes and guidelines, including the American Concrete Institute Building Code Provisions, and several Applied Technology Council, EERI, and FEMA documents on the seismic assessment, design, repair and rehabilitation of buildings and bridges.

Are you prepared for the next Big One?

"NBC Dateline" recently teamed up with Dr. Khalid Mosalam and the University of California, Berkeley's Earthquake Engineering Research Center to sponsor a unique demonstration that showed an earthquake's destructive power, and described survival tactics.

Read the full story and see the May 21st broadcast

View photos from testing

Announcing a New PEER Publication!

Bracing Berkeley:
A Guide to Seismic Safety on the UC Berkeley CampusBracing Berkeley: A Guide to Seismic Safety on the UC Berkeley Campus

by Mary C. Comerio, Stephen Tobriner and Ariane Fehrenkamp
Department of Architecture,
University of California, Berkeley

"This short guide to campus seismic projects provides a building case study for major projects with a technical explanation of the engineering problems encountered and the decisions involved in the final retrofit strategy. Additionally, some projects are documented in this guide but not fully described. It is our hope that with this guide in hand, interested architects, engineers, and lay people will make their way through the Berkeley campus and examine the major retrofit projects and newly designed buildings."-Stephen Tobriner

To order a free copy of Bracing Berkeley, contact Janine Hannel by phone at 510-665-3448, FAX at 510-665-3420, or e-mail at

View entire list of publications from PEER Report Series

PEER and NEESit announce: OpenSees Days 2006

OpenSees logo
  • – The OpenSees User Workshop – Monday, Aug 14, 2006
  • – The OpenSees Developer Workshop – Tuesday, Aug 15, 2006
  • – The OpenSees Developer Symposium – Wednesday, Aug 16, 2006

Students, researchers, and practitioners are welcome to attend, but space is limited.

Download full announcement (PDF file - 1.2 MB)

The Fourth World Conference on Structural Control and Monitoring (4WCSCM)

4WCSCM logoWhen: July 11-13, 2006
Where: University of California, San Diego

Organized by the International Association for Structural Control and Monitoring (IASCM). For more information on this event, please visit:

5th National Seismic Conference on Bridges and Highways

The purpose of the conference is to increase awareness of seismic and geological hazards and to enhance the level of technical expertise of engineering professionals so they can mitigate the risk of failure or damage to our bridges and highways.

Download flyer (PDF file - 168 KB).

5th National Seismic Conference on Bridges and Highways logo

For more information about this conference, please visit:

University of Washington Wins Seismic Design Competition

Of the eight competing student teams, the University of Washington took first place in the 3rd Annual Seismic Design Competition for Undergraduates, jointly sponsored by the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI). The event, held during the 100th Anniversary Earthquake Conference, April 18-21, at Moscone Center, was an opportunity to demonstrate performance-based, cost-effective seismic design. Read More.

PEER is awarded $2,250,000 contract from Caltrans

Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) was awarded a $2,250,000 research contract from the California Department of Transportation Caltrans). This five-year contract is part of PEER Lifelines' Program to carry out various research projects related to seismic performance and reliability of lifelines. Research projects under this contract will include engineering characterization of earthquake ground motion, response of soil during severe ground shaking, and seismic analysis and performance of bridges and lifelines systems.

The Principal Investigator of this contract is Professor Jack Moehle, PEER Director. The co-PI is Dr. Yousef Bozorgnia, PEER Associate Director. The Caltrans project manager is Mr. Tom Shantz, Division of Research and Innovation.

Jack P. Moehle named EERI’s Distinguished Lecturer for 2005

Prof. Jack MoehleJack P. Moehle, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and director of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center, was chosen as EERI’s 2005 Distinguished Lecturer.

Watch the webcast of his lecture (RealOne player required) at Sibley Auditorium in Bechtel Hall on the topic of “Performance-Based Design: Developments and Applications.” Read More.

150 U.S. Graduate Students Embark on Research Experiences in East Asia and Australia

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) 2004 East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Program (EAPSI) for U.S. Graduate Students will offer just such opportunities for 150 advanced science and engineering students this summer in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. NSF will support these students as they conduct research with foreign counterparts in fields such as cancer research, humanoid robotics, computational neuroscience and nanofabrication. Read More.

PEER names new Director of Communications

Debra Jacob has been named Director of Communications for PEER. She brings to her position several years of marketing communications and PR experience in the engineering field. She has managed communications programs for Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering and research centers, Bayer Corporation's Automotive Polymers Division, and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). She is a Pennsylvania native.