Better techniques needed to predict earthquake hazards, UC study finds

ble earthquake scenarios based on such variables as where a rupture might occur on the fault, the path it might travel, and how fast it might move.

"We know that under very strong shaking the soil may not behave in a linear fashion," said Archuleta, "so we used nonlinear soil dynamics computer models to calculate the surface ground motions created by fault ruptures."

Heuze and Archuleta praised the UC Office of the President, the participating campuses, and LLNL's University Relations Program for funding the study, one of the first projects sponsored by UC's Campus-Laboratory Collaborations Program. The collaborations are funded by a portion of the compensation UC receives from the U.S. Department of Energy for managing Livermore and Los Alamos national labs. Other UC campuses that helped in the research were Berkeley, Davis, Los Angeles, and Santa Cruz. San Diego State University also participated.

The study benefited greatly from the variety of disciplines and expertise that were brought to bear through the multicampus-laboratory collaboration, Heuze said. "A single campus or Laboratory could not provide all the required expertise," he said.

Archuleta said that while the study's results still need to be validated by additional research, the University of California is already re-examining the earthquake hazard assumptions it has been using in light of the site-specific findings.

"The university has not backed away from these results," he said. "They're aware of it and thinking about how they're going to use it. This provides the structural engineers with additional information that's at least as reliable as what they now depend on, if not more so." Michael Bocchicchio, UC's assistant vice president for facilities administration, agreed that the site-specific studies provide geotechnicians with a "broader set of data" to use in analyzing construction projects.

"This whole (seismic analysis) area is a big black hole," Bocchicch

Contact: Charlie Osolin
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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