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January 15, 2010
By John Trent
The University of Nevada’s earthquake simulation engineering lab in the College of Engineering was prominently featured on Fox News Friday in an effort to better understand why this week’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Haiti caused such terrible devastation to the impoverished country’s many structures.
University civil engineering faculty created a simulation for a Fox News team to illustrate why construction featuring below-code materials and engineering can be fatal.
Ian Buckle, director of the Large Scale Structures Laboratory at the University, helped explain the difference between using materials that can be reinforced against natural threats such as hurricanes and earthquakes. The demonstration showed masonry and wood that toppled over without the proper reinforcement. By adding vertical and horizontal placement of rebar, fortifying masonry with concrete rather than sand and using ties and braces for frame construction – practices that are common in the United States and in many modern nations – flexibility and strength of a structure are greatly enhanced, Buckle noted.
“For Haiti, we need to figure out how to build places where people live and go school that are good for hurricanes, and good for earthquakes,” Buckle said.
The clip was featured on Fox News on Friday morning, as part of three live feeds shown to the country at 7:50, 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. In addition, the footage was sent to affiliates around the country.
Additional videos about the shake tables at the University of Nevada, Reno can be found on our YouTube channel.