Infographic Illustrates How Earthquakes Have Shaped Engineering

A 2014 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Seismic Hazard Map displaying earthquake ground motions for various probability levels across the U.S., which are applied in seismic provisions of building codes, insurance rate structures, risk assessments and other public policy. 

An infographic created by Norwich University’s Master of Civil Engineering Program illustrates a brief history of how advances in civil engineering have reduced damage caused by earthquakes over the past century. At the same time, steel has been increasingly used in seismic design because of its structural properties that are effective in minimizing damage.

The infographic highlights the engineering technology and solutions that have helped reduce the death toll caused by earthquakes in the U.S. from 3,263 people from 1811-1960 to 409 people from 1960-present. Earlier this month, Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center at the University of Southern California, praised efforts by officials in Los Angeles to prepare the city for an overdue 7.8-magnitude quake on the southern San Andreas Fault by retrofitting buildings.

For more facts on earthquakes and steel structures, see AISC’s free guide, Facts for Steel Buildings #3: Earthquakes and Seismic Design.