Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Walter, Glenn and Capt. Dennis installed the fourth seismographic station.  Steve visited a school and the Killick clinic.  Justin visited eight school sites and a clinic, including a total of 20 individual structures.  Marc stayed at the embassy and wrote a lot of e-mail.

Walter and the fourth installed seismographic station.

Scenes from schools that Justin visited, a blackboard and a short-column shear failure.

Scenes from downtown taken by Steve.

A "tap-tap", the most common means of transportation around Port-au-Prince.

Steve with two Haitians.

Joint failure at Hotel Montana.

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Walter and Major Dennis identified a new site for the fourth strong-motion instrument, but the instrument blew a fuse when it was attached to the car battery.  They will return to the site tomorrow (Saturday) and try again.  Steve and Justin assessed buildings again with Army Corps engineers and will do the same tomorrow. 

Marc and Glenn flew to Cap Haitien (north Haiti) with Sgt Cruz and Pvt Dewberry to evaluate whether the port has seismic damage and the potential to serve as an alternate to the PaP port, which is closed.  The photos are from Marc and Glenn's trip.

Waiting for the helicopter.  Pvt. Dewsberry and kids.

Glenn waiting for the helicopter.

Flying over PaP to pick up a medical evacuee.

A crowded helicopter.


 Arriving at the Cap Haitien port.

Inspecting the port.

Returning to the embassy at sunset.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28th

A busy day today. Walter installed two more strong-motion instruments south and west of PaP. Justin and Steve embedded with two separate teams to assess the safety of buildings. Glenn and Marc assessed four "bridges", which turned out to be box culverts. On the way to the bridges, we saw numerous destroyed buildings. We also stopped by the National Palace and the Cathedral.

The first bridge, looking downstream.

The National Palace.

Temporary housing across from the palace.

The cathedral.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 27th

From Wednesday, January 28th,

The Hotel Montana, an upscale hotel that collapsed.

Our first building inspection at the MINUSAH-UN

Liquefaction at the port.

A leaning crane at the port.

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Finally sometime and a good internet connection. I'll post some photos of the sites we have visited.

From Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Arriving at the airport. US military helicopters on the ground.

The first building we looked at informally,
the Panamanian Embassy.

We are camping at the US embassy

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Update from Haiti


A quick update from Haiti. Going out soon.

Camped outside of Embassy.

Met GIS folks this morning. Impressive capabilities. There are at least five parallel efforts on damage assessment. Focus now is on Indigenous Displaced Peoples (IDP).

Glenn and Steve going to port with Colone Cintron and Navy Captain. After functioning for a while, port down again as piers have sustained additional damage.

Marc and Justin going with Army engineers. Will meet with UN group this afternoon to discuss needs for engineers. Will meet with U.N. emergency engineering group too this (Andre, Reggie).

Walter has temporarily installed the first ground- motion station in Haiti at the embassy. Today, he will install an instrument permanently on the grounds. Good support for installing more instruments, even south of PaP.

More later...


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Briefing of General Fraser, SOUTHCOM

Our team spent the day at Homestead AF base near Miami waiting for a flight to PaP.

At around 5 pm, Lieutenant Colonel Woolwine requested that we meet with General Fraser (Commander of SOUTHCOM) to brief him on our activities and respond to some of his questions about the seismic situation. He is mainly concerned about the safety of his troops. After meeting with General Fraser (and Colonel Sweeney), we promised to make a similar briefing to the staff in Haiti. The outline of the presentation is provided below.

One nice result of the briefing was that our priority was raised (from 3 to 1) and we will be flying to PaP at 8:30AM tomorrow morning using the General's plane. Thank you to General Fraser, as well as soldiers, airmen and officers of SOUTHCOM.

Here is an overview of the presentation.

• Marc Eberhard, University of Washington (NEES)
(team leader, structural engineer)

• Steven Baldridge, Baldridge and Associates (ATC)
(structural engineer, ATC instructor)

• Justin Marshall, Auburn University (EERI)
(structural engineer)

• Walter Mooney, (USGS)

• Glenn Rix, Georgia Tech, (GEER)
(geotechnical engineer)

Mission Goals
1. Locate source of earthquakes (install seismometers, triangulate)
2. Assess and document damage (ports, buildings)
3. Support SOUTHCOM (briefings, after-action reports ….)
4. Establish ground truth for satellite images of damage
5. Support MINUSAH-UN Emergency Engineering Services (Filiatrault, group leader appointed by special envoy)
6. Inform USAID, State Department, USGS and engineering organizations (EERI, ATC, GEER)

Seismic Forecast
Magnitude Probability of One or More Earthquakes Exceeding this Magnitude from 1/21 to 2/20
M 7 3%
M 6 25%
M5 90%

Monday, January 25, 2010

Introduction (continued)

The Geoengineering Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association, with support from the National Science Foundation, is sending a team to Haiti to investigate the geotechnical effects of this earthquake. The team will leave the US on January 30 and stay for one week.

The Haiti earthquake, which was a strike-slip Mw = 7 event that affected ground near the margins of a bay, represents a common earthquake scenario in the US and throughout the world. This earthquake generated soil liquefaction and ground failure along the coastline and severely affected critical facilities, such as the country’s main port. It will also be important to understand how soil and geologic conditions influenced the damage patterns across the City of Port-au-Prince.

Participating in the investigation are:

Mr. Jeff Bachhuber (engineering geologist, Fugro/William Lettis and Associates)

Prof. Brady Cox (geotechnical engineer, University of Arkansas)

Mr. Jim French (geotechnical engineer, AMEC/Geomatrix)

Prof. Russell Green (geotechnical engineer, Virginia Tech)

Prof. Scott Olson (geotechnical engineer, University of Illinois)

Prof. Glenn Rix (geotechnical engineer, Georgia Tech, travelling with EERI/USACE team)

Mr. Oscar Suncar (geotechnical engineer, University of Texas)

Mr. Donald Wells (engineering geologist, AMEC/Geomatrix).

These engineers and scientists will work with teams organized by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), ASCE TCLEE, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center, and others. Information on GEER is available at

Sunday, January 24, 2010


The EERI preliminary reconnaissance team will be traveling to the Port-au-Prince (PaP) area for about a week, and when the logistics are available, we will keep you informed about our activities. Many thanks for the support of NSF, EERI, NEES, ATC, and GEER.

The team members are:

Marc Eberhard (NEES), University of Washington, team leader, structural engineer

Steve Baldridge (ATC), Baldridge and Associates, structural engineer

Justin Marshall (EERI), Auburn University, structural engineer

Warren Mooney (USGS), USGS, seismologist

Glenn Rix (GEER), geotechnical engineer, ports