Lijun Deng Lecture

23 October 2019
Fox Lecture Hall, Arts Building, UWA
General Public, Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni

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The Power of Earth: the 2015 Gorkha (Nepal) earthquake and case studies

A public lecture by Dr Lijun Deng, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta and 2019 UWA Robert and Maude Gledden Senior Visiting Fellow.

Earthquakes are one of the most catastrophic natural hazards worldwide. What can happen to buildings, schools, embankments, or bridges when an earthquake strikes? How do engineers design for earthquakes? Although continental Australia is often considered earthquake “proof”, the performance of offshore facilities under seismic loading is a critical consideration for Australia’s offshore energy infrastructure.

This lecture will describe common geotechnical and structural failure mechanisms relevant for earthquake design using several case studies from the 2015 Gorkha (Nepal) earthquake. This earthquake of moment magnitude Mw 7.8 struck Nepal on April 25, 2015. Several aftershocks occurred, including an aftershock of Mw 7.3 on May 12. Tragically, the Gorkha earthquake claimed the lives of 8,600 people, making it one of the most deadly natural disasters in the past few decades. This presentation will present field reconnaissance that was undertaken in the Kathmandu Valley and regions near the main shock epicentre immediately after the main shock to survey the damage to infrastructure. The tectonic and geologic settings of Nepal will be briefly described along with case histories including landslides, road embankment settlement, bridge foundations and abutment damage, and liquefaction. Liquefaction, in particular, was identified in numerous locations within the Kathmandu Valley, leading to significant damage. A large number of the fatalities due to this event were caused by building failure, and so the patterns of damage or failure of various types of buildings will be illustrated.

Dr Lijun Deng
is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alberta (UAlberta) Canada. He joined UAlberta in January 2013, after obtaining a PhD degree in 2012 from the University of California, Davis. Dr Deng’s research interests cover geotechnical earthquake engineering, foundation engineering, soil-structure interaction, and frozen ground engineering. His research has spanned laboratory-scale testing, full-scale testing, and geotechnical centrifuge modelling. Lately He has focused on the axial performance of screw micropiles and helical piles, and the occurrence of liquefaction triggered by the 2015 Gorkha (Nepal) earthquake. He has published more than 30 journal papers. He has attracted over 1 million CA$ funding from federal agencies and local industry.

As a Robert and Maude Gledden Senior Visiting Fellow, Dr Deng is currently collaborating with colleagues at UWA Oceans Institute.