Research Projects and Goals
This capstone project establishes the overarching framework of consequence-based risk management, highlighting the iterative flow involved in making decisions based upon consequence assessment and consequence minimization.
The objectives of this project include:
- To develop efficient methods for modeling uncertainty in all aspects of consequence-based engineering, including representations of the seismic source and path, site response, structure and foundation response, damage and loss assessment and social and economic impact.
- To develop approaches for aggregating losses in a manner that allows for systemic assessment of uncertainty.
- To guide the MAE Center research program to invest where the return is highest in terms of quantifying and minimizing uncertainty.
The Memphis Testbed (MTB) project centers on bringing into focus a logical approach for examining a host of elements related to seismic risk assessment using Memphis, Tennessee as a study region for integrated loss assessment and consequence-based risk management. The goal of this applied approach is to produce an intelligent decision position, from which action plans can be formulated and pursued. The MTB project involves nine current major components:
- Establish nonstructural fragilities and interface with ATC-58
- Conduct research to create new wood frame fragilities for 1- and 2-story houses in the Memphis region
- Produce damage assessments for tasks associated with population dislocation estimation, business disruption, and other social and economic losses
- Analysis of population dislocation estimates for various time intervals; shelter needs
- Evaluate business disruption and economic impact for scenario events
- Update fragility estimates for utility networks including reevaluation of interdependencies
- Host the 2nd USGS-MAE Center Workshop entitled "USGS/MAEC Workshop Economic and Social Impacts of Scenario Earthquakes,” Fall 2006, Memphis, TN
- Conduct comprehensive systemic quantitative and qualitative validation of loss predictions in MTB
- Conduct full scale prediction of impact of scenario earthquake event(s) on the Memphis/Shelby County region
The goal of the Transportation Testbed (TTB) project is to apply the MAE Center tools to a regional transportation network to address the needs of local transportation stakeholders. The regional transportation network to be addressed is Charleston, South Carolina. The analysis will allow for the evaluation of a range of parameters, including economic losses and social impact.
The goal of the Emergency Management Testbed (EMTB) project is to conduct regional loss assessments and establish mitigation stratigies for earthquake events in Illinois, working in conjunction with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
The goal of HD-1 is to develop methods for synthesizing ground motions for earthquakes in areas where a lack of observed strong ground motions hinders loss estimation and mitigation efforts. More specifically, the objectives are:
- Develop methods for defining seismic hazards for evaluating risk and potential losses across regional systems and networks. Estimates of seismic hazards including peak ground motion parameters, response spectra, and synthetic time histories will be incorporated directly into MAEViz.
- Develop peak ground parameters, response spectra, and synthetic time histories for use in other MAE Center projects including the Memphis Test Bed for use in developing vulnerability functions and evaluating retrofit strategies.
The goal of the project is to monitor ground motion parameters (strain rate and large amplitude ground motion) in Mid-America in order to:
- Refine hazard definition modeling.
- Verify appropriateness of consequence mitigation strategies.
- Improve estimates of systems impact.
- Provide information for education and public awareness programs.
- Provide rapid information for decision makers, researchers, and the public.
The goal of this project is to produce estimates of ground motion attenuation (horizontal and vertical) for strong-ground motions in intra-plate seismo-tectonic environments. The primary testbed is both within and outside of the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ). Objectives include:
- Collection of high frequency seismic wave data from controlled explosions sources within the Mississippi embayment;
- Production of seismic velocity models and seismic attenuation models (Qp and Qs) for structures within and outside the NMSZ;
- Development of a calibrated local magnitude scale for the central U.S.;
- Systematic development of ground motion attenuation relationships for the central U.S.
The goal of this project is to develop an integrated set of tools for site response using Mid-America as the test-bed, but also including other areas with very deep deposits. Tasks include:
- Assimilate the results of prior MAE center projects related to site response (see MAE related projects).
- Evaluate applicability of NEHRP type site factors and classes.
- Develop recommendations and site response analysis procedures including inelastic site response and ground motion incoherency.
- Develop site response capability to perform coupled analysis with pore water pressure generation
This project brings together several existing elements of the Hazards Definition thrust area to verify that existing geotechnical and geophysical techniques for determining wave velocity and damping profiles give results that can actually predict ground motion amplifications in real earthquake data. The goal is to produce a reliable method for determining site effects at sites on deep soils of the Mississippi embayment. The objectives are to develop these methods for existing stations of the CERI Cooperative network. Sites will be characterized by resonance effects seen in the earthquake data with predictions inferred from geophysical and geotechnical field methods. This year a field experiment we also be performed to determine non-linear soil properties in-situ. Ground close to a large vibroseis truck will also be instrumented to determine strain-amplitude dependent attenuation and velocity changes within the sediments of the Mississippi embayment.
The goals of this project include:
- Developing procedures and application cases for the formulation of accurate and representative relationships between ground motion severity and the probability of a set of limit states being reached or exceeded. Such fragility relationships (vulnerability functions) are key in evaluating the seismic risk across a region with different populations of structures and/or networks and with different intervention measures.
- Provide tools and test-bed applications for quantifying the effect of intervention techniques on the damage level expected for populations of structures, ensuing losses/loss reduction and relative cost of different intervention approaches for use in MAEViz (the Center’s loss visualization module).
This project includes:
- Develop analysis modules describing network accessibility and evaluation of operational activities post-earthquake.
- Develop methodologies for stochastic network analysis based on uncertain traveler demand, uncertain system (bridge) capacity, and earthquake location/severity.
- Supporting integration with existing regional commodity flow models in MAEVIZ.
- Integrate the existing large-scale simulation framework that describes dynamic traffic network assessment for earthquake analysis.
The goal of the project is to provide MAE Center researchers with stable and advanced analysis environments that exhibit accuracy and efficiency, for use in fragility analysis where structure, foundation and soil are modeled. Project objectives are to enhance and maintain the MAE Center advanced analysis package ZEUS-NL, developed for estimating seismic response quantities, and to enable its use on large computing clusters. A main objective is to enable the use of ZEUS-NL as a computational node within the NEESgrid system, in a framework that is compatible with NEESgrid system, in a framework that is compatible with the NEESgrid architecture.
The goals of this project are to examine the portability of Consequence-based Risk Management methodology beyond the seismic hazard and to test loss visualization modules on a well-defined multi-hazard environment (in this case, earthquake and hurricanes). The objective of this project is to calibrate and therefore refine all elements of loss estimation and visualization (i.e., inventory, hazard, vulnerability, decision making, retrofitting, etc).
This project includes the following tasks:
- Development of mathematical tools to characterize response of interdependent networked systems to external or internal disruptions.
- Identification of preconditions for cascading failures in interdependent infrastructures.
- Comparison of topology-based network flow models with physics-based infrastructure models that account for time effects.
- Development of analytical model for multiple infrastructure interaction (e.g., power grid and telecommunications).
The following tasks are included in this project:
- Develop new techniques for producing building and infrastructure inventories for large urban areas.
- Integrate remote sensing, aerial photography and inferential data mining of primary data to develop efficient inventory production techniques.
- Produce reliable and low-cost inventories to supplement cost-effective risk assessment.
- Develop replicable methods for producing and maintaining inventories for large urban areas.
- Extract demographic inventories for large urban areas.
- Provide support for aggregation techniques and visualization methods for regional inventories.
Social and Economic Sciences
The goal of the project is to improve decision support and our understanding of risk perceptions, assessment and communication regarding earthquakes and seismic risk mitigation. The project will continue the development and implementation of decision analysis and modeling tools in MAEviz to support risk-related decisions made by firms, agencies and communities. The project includes the following objectives:
- To improve MAEviz representation of risk and decision analyses, the project will develop and empirically test, on a variety of kinds of potential MAEviz users, ways of presenting risk and uncertainty for spatially distributed data, in collaboration with the IT research projects.
- To increase understanding of the potential effects of visual simulations of hazards and risks, the project will include experimental tests of these effects on engineers and lay decision makers.
The goal of the project is to advance the state-of-the-art of social science research on earthquake hazards to be better aligned and integrated with the quantitative modeling approach that characterizes current research in the geophysical and engineering areas, including:
- Developing a set of quantitative models to estimate the social and economic consequences that result from the physical damage produced by earthquakes of various sizes.
- Developing a cross-hazard metric to characterize the damage sites produced by a hazard event (earthquake, flood or hurricane). This metric will serve as the exogenous variable that drives the social and economic models.
The objectives of this project, done in partnership with Memphis Light, Gas, and Water, include:
- Identify key nonstructural components at the selected stakeholder sites
- Determine the seismic vulnerability of the identified nonstructural components, typically expressed as a set of fragility curves, using historical earthquake performance data, current state-of-the-art research, and knowledge gained through similar projects
- Incorporate the identified nonstructural components and their fragility curves into a proprietary version of MAEviz
- Begin to establish economic impact of business disruption and loss at selected Stakeholder facilities associated with failure of nonstructural components.
The objective of this research is to understand how organizations in a moderate risk environment manage seismic risk. Specifically, this research will investigate the ways in which Memphis area organizations currently use, and are likely to use, seismic hazard information in making decisions about reducing seismic risk. This will include evaluating potential uses of MAEViz.
The goal of this project is to support the implementation into MAEviz of the engineering products of the MAE Center including those of hazard maps, inventory, fragilities, system interdependencies with joint fragilities, decision making tools, static and dynamic transportation models, and reporting tools.
The goal of this project is to leverage off the pioneering cyberinfrastructure provided by NEESgrid to deliver MAEviz functionality via a uniform portal interface. This includes enabling distributed risk management analysis and transparent, persistent and spontaneous interaction between geographically distributed researchers, engineers, scientists, social scientists, and decision makers.
The goal of the user requirements/feedback workshop is to develop detailed requirements and feedback to support the iterative development process for MAEviz. This project will fund annual workshops, including developers and stakeholders, to facilitate collection of this data and charting of the course for the next year of development for MAEviz.
The goal of the project is to provide the MAE Center with support for integrating MAEviz capabilties with existing open source collaboration and learning environments, such as Sakai and NEESgrid, to produce MAEport – a portal compatible version of MAEviz. Project objectives are to systematically identify and analyze requirements from MAE Center users and then use these requirements to determine functionality within an open source collaboration environment – and then implement and update the collaboration environment.
RI-1B Risk Assessment Workshop:
The goal of the risk assessment workshop is to evaluate HAZUS and other natural hazard loss and risk assessment software in its current implementation, and assess strategic directions for the next generation of this software.
- The objectives are to assess and refine the research agenda for integrated hazard and loss assessment modeling at the national and sub-national scales and to strengthen the research program for the MAE Center.
- The workshop will draw on the strengths of integrated modeling groups at federal agencies (e.g., U.S. EPA) as well as senior earthquake researchers. An underlying presumption is that proprietary models cannot meet the nation's disaster modeling, planning, and response needs.
RI-5A Information Transfer:
The goals of this project are:
- To facilitate end-user input, awareness, and partnerships with the MAE Center projects, especially the Memphis Testbed, through well established information transfer strategies and user networks associated with the Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI), University of Memphis.
- To provide information transfer strategies in user friendly formats,such as digital hazard visualizations that increase awareness of MAE Center research goals and promote hazard awareness.
- To promote public awareness of earthquake engineering and earthquake hazard to a wide variety of technical information to professional communities, and non technical information for the public, especially underserved K-12 teachers and students interacting with the Public Earthquake Center at CERI.