Jan, 7th magnitude 6.4 earthquake killed one and injured at least eight people in Puerto Rico. This earthquake nucleated off the island's southwestern coast following the Jan 6th magnitude 5.8 foreshock. The island was hit more than 500 earthquakes with magnitude 2 and above within the last two weeks according to the USGS. Historically, the largest and most damaging quakes affected the island occurred in 1918, when a magnitude 7.3 quake struck near the island’s northwest coast, resulting in a tsunami with a death toll of 116.
The question becomes whether thousands of existing structures on the island are safe to re-occupy. The structural assessments need to be conducted to identify damages in the buildings, bridges, dams, power plants and other infrastructures. In many cases, the damages could be obvious but they may also be hidden. The hidden damages in particular pose additional risk to the damaged structures, which have already been weakened. Such structures would most likely be hit again by aftershocks within days or weeks to follow. The weaken structures may create significant liabilities not only for government and private organizations as well as for businesses.
Structural Health Monitoring and Damage Detection
The earthquake sequence in Puerto Rico is a strong reminder that conditions of buildings, bridges, dams and other structures need to be monitored to assess their structural integrity immediately after strong shaking.
Structural health monitoring (SHM) is an effective tool. It combines the array of sensors strategically located in the structure together with smart data analytics.
With the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution and cloud computing, QuakeLogic offers the most advanced, affordable and autonomous SHM solutions. Our SHM platform response matches for the first time the timing of the earthquake impact, which was impossible before.
This innovative system provides the most essential and critical information about how the building moves and distorts during shaking, and where possible damage likely occurred. Several AI-powered smart algorithms check for variations in movements of the building frame and its vibration characteristics, for changes in the travel time of seismic waves between foundation and roof, and for exceedance of the building’s seismic design capacity.
Our platform sends rapid notifications and provides assessment reports to help engineers to:
- Make effective decisions for emergency response
- Assess building safety immediately following a damaging earthquake
- Understand how damage to structural and nonstructural components (such as equipment and pipes) occurs from strong shaking
QuakeLogic has also the technology to conduct non-destructive assessments to aid in the evaluation of structures to aid in the decision of condemning the use of a facility and help on the possible solutions to repair & reinforce it for its future use.
The monitoring of structures for earthquakes is an absolute necessity to prevent further losses.
Earthquake photo credit: RICARDO ARDUENGO