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Hearing on Federal Preparedness for Earthquake Disasters

Special Congressional Panel,
U.S. House of Representatives,
22 NOVEMBER, 1989.

This video presents a series of excerpts taken from briefings held before a special House of Representatives panel on lessons from the recent earthquake in Armenia useful for improving preparedness for a similar event in the U.S. Various specialists comment on the damage and effects of the 1988 earthquake in Armenia.

It begins with a general description of the earthquake's characteristics including magnitude, epicenter, and aftershocks. Following a brief discussion of Armenia's history, Armen der Kiureghian describes the region's tectonic characteristics and patterns of building damage. John Filson provides additional descriptions of the strike slip earthquake, including the fault plane solution and displacement. Roger Borcherdt explains the surface faulting and Tom O'Rourke highlights the geotechnical aspects of the earthquake, including instances of ground failure (landslides), site effects, and the performance of earth support structures (abutments, retaining walls, embankments, and tunnels).

Eric Noji focuses on disaster medicine with detailed explanations of crush syndromes and compartment syndromes.

Peter Yanev discusses the performance of building structures. Ansel Schiff describes damage to lifelines and Loring Wyllie discusses damage to the following types of buildings: 1) stone masonry; 2) precast concrete frames; 3) lift slab; and 4) precast concrete panels. Aspects of emergency response and disaster relief are provided by Fred Krimgold and Dennis Mileti. Finally, Lloyd Cluff sums up the lessons learned from this earthquake which might be applied to mitigate the seismic hazards in the United States.

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