EERI Plans


A multi-disciplinary research team will be documenting the effects of the 6.3 earthquake that struck Christchurch on February 22nd (local time).

A complete listing of team members is available by clicking here– EERI LFE TEAM

EERI is sending this team to bring back lessons for U.S. practice and academia.  Team co-leader Ken Elwood of the University of British Columbia was in Christchurch at the time of the earthquake and stayed on for nine days, assisting New Zealand colleagues in the assessment of critical buildings in the central business district, and making preparations for the main team’s arrival. A larger group will be traveling March 9th under the leadership of team co-leader Professor Mary Comerio from the University of California, Berkeley.

The team is organized under the auspices of EERI’s Learning from Earthquakes Program, which has sent reconnaissance teams to investigate hundreds of damaging earthquakes over the past forty years.

The large multi-disciplinary EERI team will focus on the performance of engineered structures in the earthquake, on nonstructural building component performance, the performance of hospitals and the health care system, issues related to the resilience of the community, lessons in the use of social media during and after the earthquake, and risk communication issues between the September and February events, and after the February earthquake. This is a particularly interesting event for the U.S. scientific and engineering community because the February 22nd earthquake was part of the aftershock sequence to the September 2010 earthquake.  Although of a smaller magnitude than the September event, the resulting consequences were much more damaging to life, infrastructure and economy.

Six team members are receiving support from the National Science Foundation to focus on the specific themes of building collapse, resilience, and the use of social media for risk communication. The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Center has contributed logistical and travel support. Many other organizations are also contributing travel support, including ABS Consulting, AIR Worldwide, ARUP, Auburn University, Canadian Seismic Research Network, Forell/Elsesser, Johns Hopkins University, Simpson Gumpertz and Heger, Tokyo Institute of Technology and the U.S. Geological Survey. Air New Zealand has also generously provided reduced fares for EERI team members.

Team members will be contributing to a blog that will be part of this website at