EERI Washington Presents: EERI 2020 Distinguished Lecture, featuring David Bonowitz – September 16, 2020, Noon-1pm

September 16, 2020
RSVP at to receive a the teams link for this webinar.

EERI Washington is pleased to welcome David Bonowitz for a presentation of the 2020 Distinguished Lecture. RSVP for this virtual event by emailing

David Bonowitz (M.EERI,1994), a leading structural engineer practicing in San Francisco, will deliver the 2020 Distinguished Lecture, “Functional Recovery: What it Means to Design for Community Resilience,” in this webinar. David’s lecture will focus on the emerging concept of functional recovery as a basis for earthquake-resistant design. Designing buildings and infrastructure for limited downtime – or an acceptably quick functional recovery – is not new, but it is receiving new attention through state and federal legislation, and showing new feasibility through research and technology. Most intriguing is the recognition that designing for functional recovery is a necessary tool for achieving community-wide earthquake resilience. And if progress is to be measured at the community level, functional recovery will also be a matter of public policy. The lecture will look at the roles EERI members can play in shaping this thinking into design practice with four sets of questions: definitional, technical, policy, and implementation.

EERI Washington Chapter Meeting: October 17th

EERI 2019 Distinguished Lecture


Ross W. Boulanger, PhD, PE, NAE

Professor, Director of CGM
University of California, Davis

Monday, September 9, 2019

5:30 PM Reception (Drinks and appetizers will be served)
6:00 PM EERI WA Board Welcome – News
6:10 PM EERI Distinguished Lecture

University of Washington
Electrical and Computer Engineering Building 105 (ECE 105) 
185 Stevens Way
Seattle, WA 98195-2500

FREE Admission – RSVP HERE

Liquefaction: Lessons, Challenges, and Opportunities  

Liquefaction during earthquakes has been the subject of extensive study for over half a century and is now routinely addressed in engineering practice using a wide range of technical approaches that depend on the project size and importance. These past studies have produced major advances in our scientific understanding of liquefaction phenomena and the engineering practices used to address liquefaction hazards, but there remain numerous situations where knowledge gaps and engineering practice limitations hinder the efficient mitigation of earthquake-induced liquefaction damages to our infrastructure and communities. This presentation examines a number of lessons, challenges, and opportunities regarding the evaluation and mitigation of liquefaction hazards, including aspects of site characterization, engineering analysis methods, challenging soil types, remediation methods, performance-based engineering procedures, and risk management approaches. 

Ross W. Boulanger, PhD, PE, NAE
Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Director, Center for Geotechnical Modeling 
University of California, Davis

Ross W. Boulanger is the Director of the Center for Geotechnical Modeling and professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1990 and 1987, respectively, and his B.A.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of British Columbia in 1986. He became a registered professional engineer in the State of California in 1992.

Ross’ research and professional practice are primarily related to liquefaction and its remediation, seismic soil-pile-structure interaction, and seismic performance of dams and levees. His research over the past 25 years has produced over 200 publications, including co-authoring with I. M. Idriss the EERI Monograph MNO-12 on Soil Liquefaction during Earthquakes. He has served as a technical specialist on seismic remediation and dam safety projects for private, state, and federal organizations. His honors include the TK Hsieh Award from the Institution of Civil Engineers, and the Ralph B. Peck Award, Norman Medal, Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, and Arthur Casagrande Professional Development Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

Ross’ professional service includes being a member of the Board of Directors for the United States Society on Dams (USSD) from 2009-2015, member of the Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics Committee of ASCE since 1996 (chair from 2004-2009), vice-chair of the Technical Committee on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) since 2009, co-leader with Nick Sitar on the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) team for the 2011 Tohoku earthquake in Japan, and member of the Research Committee for the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center from 2003-2010.

FREE Admission – RSVP HERE

EERI Washington Chapter Meeting: September 9th



Dr. Ben Mason
Associate Professor, Oregon State University

Monday, September 9, 2019

5:30 PM Reception (Drinks and appetizers will be served)
6:15 PM EERI WA Board Welcome
6:30 PM Lecture

Seattle Public Library
Washington Mutual Foundation Meeting Room 
1000 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104-1109

FREE Admission – RSVP HERE

Flowslides Initiated by the 28 September 2018 MW7.5 Palu-Donggala Earthquake
The MW7.5 Palu-Donggala earthquake occurred on 28 September 2018 in Sulawesi, Indonesia. The strike-slip earthquake rupture occurred on the Palu-Koro fault, which runs north-south through Central Sulawesi. The Palu-Donggala earthquake triggered a series of large landslides (or flowslides) throughout the Palu Basin. In general, the large flowslides initiated beneath moderate slopes (i.e., grades between 2 to 6 percent) and significant liquefaction, as evidenced by numerous sand boils, occurred within the flowslides’ footprints. Given the large footprints of the flowslides as well as the population density of the Palu Basin, the flowslides claimed lives, destroyed hundreds of houses, and left a heavily-used irrigation canal inoperable. A National Science Foundation funded Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) team traveled to Palu to conduct post-earthquake field reconnaissance from 11 November to 17 November 2018. We documented the geologic setting, collected perishable field data, and obtained eyewitness accounts to understand the mechanisms responsible for initiation and progression of the large flowslides. To assist the post-earthquake reconnaissance, we performed high-resolution mapping using a DJI Inspire 2 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV, or “drone”) mated with a Zenmuse X4S camera (1-inch sensor, with 20 MP resolution). We used Pix4D mapper to process the ground-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle photographs, and we developed high-resolution orthomosaic images and digital elevation models. Within this talk, I will report the findings of our post-earthquake reconnaissance efforts and propose hypothesized mechanisms responsible for flowslide initiation and progression. Our interpretations are aided by cone penetration tests performed after our initial reconnaissance effort.

Ben Mason, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, College of Engineering
Oregon State University

  Ben’s primary field of research interest is natural hazards engineering. Within this broad field, he has interests in geotechnical earthquake engineering, including soil-structure interaction and residual soil liquefaction as well as coastal geotechnical engineering, including fluid-soil-structure interaction, momentary soil liquefaction, and tsunami-induced scour. He has a particular interest in how a combined earthquake and tsunami event affects coastal soil instability and ultimately the stability of coastal buildings and infrastructure. He uses physical modeling techniques coupled with numerical and analytical modeling to investigate his aforementioned research interests. He is also interested in the fields of sustainable geotechnical engineering and geotechnical engineering education. He participates in post-earthquake reconnaissance events to motivate and strengthen his research and teaching interests.

Lawrence Berkeley Nat’l Lab: New Sensor Could Shake Up Earthquake Response Efforts

After the most recent series of earthquakes in Southern California, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs has put out a news release describing their recent work (in conjunction with University of Nevada-Reno) developing optical sensor technology that can be used to speed up the time needed to evaluate the post-earthquake damage to buildings, and assess whether they are safe enough to enter or require red-tagging.

For more information, the full article can be found on the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab website.

Credit: Diana Swantek/Berkeley Lab

Report Available: Funding for URM Retrofits in Seattle

The National Development Council has provided their final report to the City of Seattle on URM retrofit funding. With the completion of this report, along with the recommendations of the URM Policy Committee, the City will begin developing high-level policy recommendations to the Mayor’s Office for their review later this year.

The report is available on the Seattle Department of Construction and Inpections’ Unreinforced Masonry Buildings website.

The city continues to be interested in hearing your thoughts on this issue. You can contact the URM Policy Committee at:

AIA Oregon: URM Seismic Resilience Symposium

EERI Washington Chapter members may be interested in attending The American Institute of Architects Oregon Chapter’s URM Seismic Resilience Symposium. Event details are included below:

URM Seismic Resilience Symposium
July 18-20, 2019 

Unreinforced Masonry (URM) buildings present a challenge for earthquake-prone communities. There are over 1,650 URM buildings in Portland and millions around the world. These structures are important historic, architectural, cultural, and economic landmarks, but their vulnerability to earthquakes imperils them and the people that live and work in them.

The URM Seismic Resilience Symposium, July 18-20, 2019, is a three-day event for architects, engineers, owners, property managers, and anyone that might deal with URM buildings. AIA HSW and Engineering continuing education credits will be available.

Visit the AIA Oregon website for details on the agenda, speakers, and special events.

Registration is now open.

Information for URM Seismic Resilience Symposium hosted by AIA Oregon in July 2019

The Why, How, Where and What of Earthquake Early Warning – A Seismological Society of America Town Hall

The Seismological Society of America will be hosting a town hall meeting on earthquake early warning systems in the Pacific Northwest as part of their 2019 Annual Meeting in Seattle. This event is free to attend!

For more information, please visit the Seismological Society of America Website

The Why, How, Where and What of Earthquake Early Warning Tuesday, 23 April 6-7:30 p.m. Westin Seattle, Rooms Cascade I & II Why should we prepare for earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest? How could seconds of warning help make us less vulnerable to damage and injury? How do earthquake early warning (EEW) systems work, and when might we have one?

Mon, April 1st: The William B. Joyner Lecture Featuring Dr. Ellen Rathje, University of Texas at Austin



The William B. Joyner Lecture


 Dr. Ellen Rathje,  University of Texas at Austin



Monday April 1st, 2019 4:00 PM
Reception to follow Lecture

University of Washington
Alders Hall – Alders Commons Auditorium
1315 Northeast Campus Parkway
Seattle, WA 98105

FREE Admission

Seismic Landslide Assessments: Bridging the Gap between Engineers and Earth Scientists

Earthquake-induced landslides represent a significant seismic hazard, as evidenced by recent earthquakes in Kaikoura, New Zealand and Gorkha, Nepal, and proper planning/mitigation requires accurate evaluation of the potential for seismic landslides.
Engineers often tackle this problem through a detailed evaluation of individual slopes and more recently have introduced performance-based engineering (PBE) concepts into the analysis.
Recognizing the compounding effects of multiple landslides across an area, earth scientists often evaluate seismic landslides at a regional scale. This approach sacrifices details, but provides a broader assessment of the impacts of earthquake induced landslides.
This presentation will describe the integration of performance-based engineering concepts into regional-scale seismic landslide assessments. The basic PBE framework for seismic landslides will be introduced along with the modifications required to apply it at a regional scale. The application of the approach for a seismic landslide hazard map will be presented. The use of seismic landslide inventories to validate regional landslide assessments will be discussed, along with advancements in developing seismic landslide inventories using remote sensing techniques.
Finally, research needs required to further advance regional seismic landslide assessments will be presented.

Ellen M. Rathje is the Warren S. Bellows Centennial Professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineerin
g and also a Senior Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include seismic site response analysis, earthquake-induced landslides, field reconnaissance after earthquakes, and remote sensing of geotechnical phenomena.

She is a founding member of and current co-chair of the Geotechnical Extreme Event Reconnaissance Association (GEER) which coordinates National Science Foundation-sponsored geotechnical investigations around the world after major earthquakes and other natural disasters such as floods, to advance research and improve engineering practice. Rathje is also the Principal Investigator of the DesignSafe cyberinfrastructure project, a web-based research platform for the National Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) that provides computational tools to manage and analyze critical data for natural hazards research. Closer to home, Rathje is co-principal investigator for the Center for Integrated Seismicity Research and the TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program, both housed at the Bureau of Economic Geology at UT.

The William B. Joyner Lecture is jointly awarded by EERI and SSA to those who have provided outstanding earth science contributions to the theory and practice of earthquake engineering or outstanding earthquake engineering contributions to the direction and focus of earth science research—together with demonstrated skills of communication at the interface of earthquake science and earthquake engineering.

This Monday: Friedman Family Visiting Professionals Program Lecture with Jay Wilson and EERI at UW

Greg Deierlein’s 2016 Distinguished Lecture (pdf)

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