Chile Earthquake and Tsunami of 2010: Performance of Coastal Infrastructure
American Society of Civil Engineers

Chile Earthquake and Tsunami of 2010: Performance of Coastal Infrastructure

  • Publish Date: 2013-05-28
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: COPRI Chile Earthquake Investigation Team

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On February 27, 2010, an earthquake of magnitude 8.8 occurred off the coast of south-central Chile, causing intense shaking for as long as three minutes and generating a tsunami that spread across the Pacific Ocean. The earthquake the fifth largest recorded to date was much stronger than the 2010 Haiti earthquake, yet the Chile earthquake and tsunami combined caused substantially less damage to infrastructure and less loss of life than the Haiti event. What can engineers and risk managers learn from the Chile earthquake? In April 2010, an ASCE-COPRI team of coastal, structural, and geotechnical engineers conducted a field investigation of 10 sites in Chile affected by the earthquake and tsunami, including the ports of San Vicente, Lirquen, Coronel, Valparaiso, and San Antonio; the San Vicente Gas Terminal; and Talcahuano, Dichato, Caleta Tumbes, and Santa Maria Island. They observed successes and failures of port/harbor pile-supported structures, breakwaters and sea walls, and coastal zones. This report presents the team's findings on which types of infrastructure performed poorly and which types performed as intended. The team also compared the performance of older systems that were not designed using current mitigation methods with systems that were designed according to Chile's modern codes. The report includes summaries of interviews by team members with engineers and government officials in Chile, as well as a summary of lessons learned and general recommendations. For coastal engineers, structural engineers, geotechnical engineers, and disaster risk managers, the observations and analyses in this report provide critical information for engineering infrastructure that withstands major earthquake and tsunami events.

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