Exponent Surveys Damaged Buildings in Mexico City

October 11, 2017

Exponent earthquake engineering experts, Dr. Ezra Jampole and Dr. Jeff Hunt conducted a damage survey as part of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute reconnaissance team in Mexico City following the September 19, 2017, M7.1 Puebla Earthquake. Mexico City is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because it is primarily built on the soft soils of a former lake, drained by the Spanish for flood control, which amplifies earthquake shaking.

The Exponent team examined over 500 buildings in less than a week, including 20 collapsed buildings, to identify patterns of damage, to diagnose the failures in heavily damaged and collapsed buildings, and to determine the types of structures that survived the earthquake. Exponent will use the large dataset to make recommendations aimed at reducing seismic risk and to inform risk models.

Exponent provides an array of professional services related to natural disasters, including both forensic investigations following earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes, and proactive peer reviews, recommendations for implementing state of the art earthquake protection technologies, and multi-hazard risk assessments. Contact one of our consultants for more information.

Damaged concrete frame apartment building in Navarte Oriente, Mexico City. X-cracks formed in each direction of the building because of the limited number of walls, "pounding" against adjacent structures, and several minutes of earthquake shaking, rendering the building uninhabitable.

Collapse of the sixth story of a concrete frame apartment building in La Condesa, Mexico City. The structure "pounded" against adjacent shorter structures, creating a "fuse" weaker level at the sixth story.