Field missions: Eastern Sichuan in China 2008
The Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team (EEFIT, UK), with the addition of JRC ELSA (Italy) and Chinese experts organised a joint field mission spanning 7 days from 11 July 2008, to the earthquake stricken Wenchuan area in the Sichuan Province of China.
The earthquake struck in the vicinity of Wenchuan on 12 May 2008 with a moment magnitude of 7.9 MW.
The purpose of the mission was to survey damage to buildings and infrastructure, investigate geotechnical aspects and disseminate their observations to the local and international engineering community. Although two months had passed since the event, very little information had been made available to the international engineering community regarding the extent and type of damage that had been incurred, and EEFIT was amongst the first international teams to visit the sites.
The team (the report authors) was composed of practicing engineers, academics, and an imagery and GIS specialist. The team was given substantial local support by the Civil Engineering School of the South West Jiaotong University at Chengdu, China.
The Sichuan earthquake in figures
- A moment magnitude of 7.9 MW and a shallow focal depth (~19 km, USGS).
- The fault displace had a reverse mechanism with the fault dipping at approximately at 35' toward the northwest.
- The fault rupture is estimated to have been approximately 270 km in length with maximum slip of 8m to 12m, and more commonly 1m to 3m.
- The epicentre of the earthquake was located 80km WNW of Chengdu, a city with a population of more than 10million (USGS).
- 69,185 people are reported to have died in the event,
- more than 374,000 people have been injured and
- 5 million are reported to be homeless, (figures correct as of 27th June, UNICEF).
- Total economic loss is estimated at US$20 billion.
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