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Quake risk assessment of buildings in Abu Dhabi

posted on 12/05/2009: 2608 views


An assessment of seismic hazards and risks in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, the first of its kind, will be carried out here, planned and coordinated by the emirate's three municipalities — Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Gharbia — with the support of the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS).

The 36-month study is meant to analyse the building structures throughout the emirate and make sure they would be able to cope with a serious tremor. "There is no place safe from earthquake. So far, there hasn't been a serious one in the emirates, but that doesn't mean it cannot happen. Look at Egypt, for example. For a very long time there was nothing and then, in 1990s it was hit by an earthquake,” Mahmoud Al Tamimi, NCMS researcher said.

Since the Abu Dhabi municipalities do not require a seismic infrastructure for any construction in the emirate, the final goal of the assessment is to change all this and to introduce earthquake-resistant buildings.

"We need to make the emirate safe and for that, we need to introduce smart buildings, which have seismic planning,” stressed Al Tamimi.

The assessment is going to test the tremor resistance of new, but also old constructions, especially strategic buildings (headquarters of army, police, presidential diwan, airport etc), as well as bridges, tunnels, tall and short buildings. "We will take into consideration three factors that influence a seismic effect — the strength of the building, its condition and the properties of the land on which it is built,” said Al Tamimi.

The details of the assessment were introduced by Professor Zoran Milutinovic, an expert on seismology from the Skopje University in Macedonia, who helped plan the Abu Dhabi seismic study, during a thematic seminar organised by NCMS on Monday.

"The assessment will include a seismic monitoring for emergency management and risk reduction by developing 50 stations of permanent accelerograph network,” revealed Milutinovic.

An accelerograph is an instrument that records the acceleration of the ground during an earthquake, also commonly called an accelerometer.

Accelerographs are useful for when the earthquake ground motion is so strong that it causes the more sensitive seismometers to go off-scale.

In addition to these 50 stations, a network of four stations for seismic monitoring will be installed in the emirate. Once all the data is collected, it will be made available on a public website and the assessment database will be updated annually. – Khaleej Times

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