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University of California researchers work to learn from Turkey quake

Teams of researchers from California are heading to Turkey and Syria to survey the damage from last week's 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

The destruction is already being surveyed by a team from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute based at UC Berkeley.

That team is still recruiting for volunteers and other researchers interested in assisting with the research and recovery data collection.


Much of the data collected will be shared with scientists and engineers at some of University of California campuses. UC San Diego will use the data in its "shake table" project.

The table is a 40 x 25-foot steel plate, with a heavy hydraulics system powering it to recreate earthquakes and provide valuable information in an effort to make buildings more quake-safe.

Lelli Van Den Einde is a structural engineering professor at UC San Diego. She has been involved with the "shake table" project since its beginning in 2004.

“Right now we’ve got people on the ground looking at the structures and the failures, and looking at the actual design codes and the buildings, trying to assess where the weaknesses are at this point," Van Den Einde said.


That's what makes the UCSD "shake table" so valuable. Data collected in the coming months will eventually find its way into solutions that could save lives in San Diego or any other community if and when the ‘big one’ hits.

Until then, there are decades of earthquakes to learn from.

"In 1994 there was the Northridge earthquake, and before that, the code had touted this amazing connection for steel buildings," Van Den Einde said. "That earthquake showed that (the connection) didn’t perform and we hadn't designed (the buildings) as expected. There was a whole history of research done for decades afterward."

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