A team of Thornton Tomasetti engineers, architects and risk assessment specialists assisted clients in Chile with evaluation of property damage resulting from the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck in 2010. Focused on the Santiago area, the assessments included interior walls and other non-structural components within pockets of severe structural damage in the city.

As one of the first firms with staff on the ground in the midst of the debris, Thornton Tomasetti gained valuable knowledge that we have since shared with the engineering community. Chilean seismic codes and engineering practices are amongst the most rigorous in the world. However, over the past decade, designs have become more aggressive in an effort to minimise construction costs. Unlike the last major Chilean earthquake in 1985, the 2010 earthquake was a subduction zone event, which creates lower-frequency but wider-ranging ground motions. This seismic activity affects high-rise buildings more than low-rise structures and is typical of the kind of event that could affect the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

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Thornton Tomasetti staff involved: Mark P. Ellis

Image credit: © Thornton Tomasetti