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Utilization of New Technologies [USGS]
UTILIZATION OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES
The NEP embraces testing the usefulness of promising new technologies for understanding earthquakes and reducing earthquake-caused loss that have emerged since the original formation of NEHRP. Space-based technologies such as Global Positioning System (GPS) technology can be utilized to provide continuous-in-time measurements of how the ground is deforming in areas of earthquake risk, and Synthetic Aperture Radar remote sensing applications are being developed to provide a spatially continuous image of crustal deformation. Other new geophysical methods include high-performance seismometers and seismographs for recording broadband, high-dynamic-range ground motion which are being installed world-wide. These stations are particularly important for emergency response to damaging earthquakes and for recording the strong motion data needed for building design. Borehole tiltmeters, borehole strainmeters, and laser-ranging instrumentation measure ongoing distortion of the earth's crust and may eventually aid earthquake prediction. Paleoseismic methods have rapidly advanced in the last decade and enable identification of pre-historic earthquakes and improved estimates of earthquake recurrence intervals. Probabilistic seismic hazard methods have been developed to provide estimates of earthquake ground motion in areas of low recurrence (such as the eastern U.S.). New Geographic Information System (GIS) technology will be used to integrate the information from these and a variety of other data sets.
New technologies in the area of earthquake engineering include advanced modeling and simulation of the dynamic, non-linear response of constructed facilities to earthquake effects, use of energy absorption systems, and passive and active control systems for reduction of structural response to ground shaking with resulting reduction in damage and interruption of functions, and innovative structural materials and systems such as high-performance composites for strengthening existing structures:
Advanced non-destructive evaluation methods such as ultrasonic, acoustic emission, infrared thermography techniques have been developed to monitor and assess structures and detect flaws which could make them more susceptible to ground shaking.
Optic-fiber sensors and innovative embedment techniques have proven to be extremely effective in sensing the dynamic response of structures under seismic conditions.
Neural networks and fuzzy logic-based mathematics techniques are very useful in identifying the properties and damage potential of large, complex structures.
Hydraulic, electromagnetic-based actuators, or their hybrids, are being developed to produce the required control forces to counter-balance impeding earthquake loads.
High-performance materials, including high-strength, highly ductile and weldable steel and alloys and cement-based materials which can be made super strong, tough, and durable--properties of importance to earthquake resistance--are becoming common for construction of critical buildings and infrastructures in seismic zones.