Date of release: Tuesday, October 31, 2017

EarthquakeAn expert international team investigating the recent earthquake in Mexico City includes a member of the University of Greenwich.

Dr Olga-Joan Ktenidou, Senior Lecturer in geotechnics with the university's Faculty of Engineering & Science, was invited to join the team being sponsored by the USA's Applied Technology Council. Dr Ktenidou was among those who recently flew out to assess the widespread damage following the 19 September earthquake, joining colleagues from prestigious engineering firms and other research institutions in both the US and Europe.

The Central Mexico earthquake struck with an estimated magnitude of M7.1, causing loss of life in the states of Puebla and Morelos and in the Greater Mexico City area. Three hundred and seventy people were killed by the related building collapses. The event occurred on the anniversary of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake of M8.1, which killed around 10,000 people. 

During their visit, the experts inspected damaged and collapsed buildings and documented structural and geotechnical evidence of damage and failures. They also carried out a campaign of instrumenting selected buildings, with the aim of estimating their behaviour through ambient vibration.

Through investigations such as the one being carried out in Mexico, the Applied Technology Council (ATC) uses its knowledge to understand and improve the seismic behaviour of buildings and avoid losses of life in future earthquakes, both in the United States and internationally. This mission also aims to study the effects of the soil on amplifying seismic ground motion.

Dr Ktenidou, a member of the university's Engineering Science Department, is a civil engineer specialising in geotechnics, with a PhD and several years' research experience in engineering seismology. Her special interests include the effect of near-surface geological conditions on seismic ground motion, including how the soils and rocks near the surface (their properties, layering and geometry) affect the way the ground surface moves in the event of an earthquake.

Those taking part in the Mexico City visit included the University of NY at Buffalo, National Technical University of Athens, Greece, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), and several leading US and international engineering organisations such as WSP.

Story by Public Relations

Picture: The Puebla-Morelos earthquake caused widespread damage in Mexico City,