Researchers identify earthquake vulnerability

in News · 07-02-2020 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

Researchers from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) have developed a platform capable of identifying the vulnerability of infrastructures in case of an earthquake.

In statements to Lusa, António Viana da Fonseca, professor at the Department of Civil Engineering of FEUP, said that it was to find optimised solutions to mitigate the effects caused by the liquefaction of soils (collapse comparable to that of quicksand) induced by earthquakes that the ‘LIQUEFACT’ project emerged.
Started in May 2016 and financed in €5 million, the project took as its starting point the risks associated with this phenomenon, both for infrastructures and buildings already built and for the population.
For more than three years, the team of specialists from six European countries - Portugal, Slovenia, England, Italy, Norway and Turkey - meticulously analysed several regions of Europe and identified macro zones and microzones where there were historical records of the phenomenon or soil characteristics that could indicate the emergence of liquefaction.

“The first objective was: let us look at Europe as a whole and identify regions where historically these phenomena have occurred or where soil characteristics show that they may exist,” he said.
And he added, “the mapping is detailed, but looking at the detail, we did not see our cities, infrastructures like hospitals, schools, fire stations or police, so we decided to make a more detailed map.”
As it was impossible to micro-zone the whole territory, the experts opted for four pilot regions where there were historical records of the great consequences of liquefaction: the region of Emilia-Romagna (Italy), the Marmara Sea area (Turkey), Slovenia and the left bank of the Tagus River in the municipalities of Benavente and Vila Franca de Xira.
“We concentrated our attention on all the data concerning the 1909 earthquake that destroyed Benavente and from our analysis and study we concluded that in the area of the left bank of the Tagus River there are quite a few risks of liquefaction,” he said.
According to António Vinhas da Fonseca, it was based on this detailed analysis of the four pilot regions that, in parallel, the digital platform emerged, which aims to mitigate the effects of this phenomenon, by pointing out advanced engineering solutions with an optimized cost-benefit.


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