Japan Earthquake Response

  • Location Tohoku, Japan
  • Tohoku Tragedy

    How Japan’s 9.0M earthquake reconnaissance can improve building design.

  • A Learning Moment

    Studying the effects in Japan helps plan for a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

Failure is a great teacher. Architects and Engineers can learn a great deal from how buildings and infrastructure perform in earthquakes by visiting earthquake-stricken regions. Reid Middleton structural engineers led a team of structural engineers from the Structural Engineers Association of Washington (SEAW) through Sendai, Japan as part of an earthquake reconnaissance team. The team studied the effects of the Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami on buildings, bridges, ports, and infrastructure. The group then brought this information back to the Pacific Northwest, noting similarities between the effects of the Tohoku Earthquake and the likely effects of a future earthquake on our Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) here in the Pacific Northwest – with the goal of improving public safety and design. Being part of earthquake reconnaissance teams provides greater understanding, and hopefully as a result, lives can be saved, injuries avoided, and buildings remain stable.