../Morning Post
Posted September 25, 2009

Carleton team researching how to keep people safe during earthquakes

Ottawa – A team of Carleton researchers is participating in a new $5-million Canadian network that will help identify, assess and mitigate urban earthquake risks in Canada.

Carleton University is one of eight universities and a research group participating in the Canadian Seismic Research Network (CSRN), headquartered at McGill University. The network, which is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) was announced today by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology).

“Two-thirds of Canada’s population lives in major urban centres where it is recognized that a significant earthquake is probably Canada’s greatest potential natural disaster and Ottawa is among them,” points out Engineering Professor David Lau, one of the Carleton team leaders. “A high percentage of Canada’s urban infrastructure was constructed prior to the adoption of modern seismic design provisions in the 1970s and many of these have been found to be deficient.”

Over the next five years, in partnership with the Geological Survey of Canada, City of Ottawa and Public Works and Government Services Canada, researchers and graduate students at Carleton will conduct research to ensure Canada’s critical infrastructure - hospitals, schools and bridges - remain operational after a seismic event. They will work on earthquake hazard mapping, ground motion prediction and earthquake modeling, safety assessment and performance prediction of structures and retrofit and upgrade of deficient structures.

David Lau is professor of civil engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Bridge Research Institute. Co-leader Dariush Motazedian is associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences and he is involved in POLARIS, a multimillion-dollar Canadian geophysical research consortium.

Other faculty members on the team include Professors Heng-Aik Khoo and Ted Sherwood, who are conducting research on the assessment and retrofit of steel and concrete structures and Professor Siva Sivathayalan on earthquake hazard mapping studies.

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