Purdue students research earthquake impacts on buildings, bridges

Research will help minimize damage, save lives

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University is researching buildings that can withstand huge earthquakes, minimize damage and save lives.

Students at the giant Bown Laboratory simulate the effect of earthquakes on bridges, buildings and other structures to understand how they respond to earthquakes and how to build them to withstand a major event.

“The ultimate goal is to make our nation’s infrastructure more resilient to earthquake events,” said Shirley Dyke, Professor of Engineering.

Building codes have been proven to save lives.

The 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile in 2010 killed more than 700 people, but two months earlier, an earthquake 500-times less powerful in Haiti caused over 300,000 casualties.

“The information and findings we have are accelerating very quickly because we can share it around the world and learn from each other,” said Jeanne Norbery

Experiments help to better understand how to withstand and survive deadly earthquakes.

Homeowners, schools and businesses will do earthquake preparedness drills across Indiana and the Midwest Thursday.

Scientists estimate there is a good chance for a damaging earthquake in the central United States within the next 50 years.

Scientists said a major quake along the New Madrid fault line could cause major damage in Evansville.

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