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Faculty experts

Earthquake-related topics

General earthquake information

Experts at the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory can provide information about earthquake activity around the world.

Peggy Hellweg, seismologist (510) 643-9449

Or call the general lab number, (510) 642-3977.

Earthquake engineering - buildings, bridges, freeways, utility systems

Mary Comerio
Professor of architecture
Email: mcomerio@berkeley.edu
Media Relations contact: Kathleen Maclay, (510) 643-5651, kmaclay@berkeley.edu

Expertise: Comerio is an internationally recognized authority on post-disaster reconstruction issues. She recommends tax credits for modifying buildings and infrastructure to improve resistance to hazards, a reconception of the government's role in disaster recovery, and government intervention to revitalize the private disaster insurance market.

Comerio has spent much of the last 20 years on reconnaissance missions to the scenes of tragedies such as Hurricane Andrew, and the Loma Prieta, Kobe, Christchurch and Haitian earthquakes. She advised in a 1998 book, "Disaster Hits Home: New Policy for Urban Housing Recovery," that unless new policies are adopted, natural disasters will continue to leave economic and housing ruin in their wake.

Jack Moehle
Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and former director, Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, a multi-university organization headquartered at UC Berkeley's Richmond Field Station
(510) 642-3437
Email: moehle@berkeley.edu
Areas of expertise: Reinforced concrete structures, bridge and building design, seismic testing methods.

Stephen Mahin
Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
(510) 693-6972
Email: mahin@ce.berkeley.edu
Areas of expertise: Behavior and design of structures, seismic isolation of bridges and buildings, laboratory testing of structures.

Bozidar Stojadinovic
Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
(510) 643-7035
Email: boza@ce.berkeley.edu
Areas of expertise: Behavior of structures during earthquakes. He is director of the UC Berkeley site of the NSF-sponsored Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES@Berkeley). The NEES lab simulates large-scale structural systems and experimental evaluation of their response to earthquakes

Gary Black
Associate professor of architecture in the College of Environmental
Design, and a member of Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center.
(510) 368-5349 (cell)
(510) 528-1605 (home)
Email: rgb@berkeley.edu or gary_black@integratedstructures.com
Areas of Expertise: Research and development of earthquake and fire resistant structural/construction systems using sustainable technologies. One construction system he has been developing uses straw bales in combination with reinforcing steel and concrete to create a structure that is economical and extremely earthquake-resistant for buildings up to five stories. As the main materials are readily everywhere, and since the construction is relatively low-tech it would be ideal for rebuilding in Iran. The construction type (SMS), so-called because it uses "spars" and "membranes" as the principal structural elements, has been used in the construction of several buildings in the U.S. Black plans to construct a pilot, three-story residential project in India in 2004.

Geotechnical engineering - ground motion, liquefaction

Jonathan Bray
Researcher, Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, Professor, UC Berkeley Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
(510) 642-9843
Email: bray@ce.berkeley.edu
Areas of expertise: Geotechnical engineering, ground motion, liquefaction, seismic impact on structures such as dams, landfills and embankments.

Nicholas Sitar
Professor, UC Berkeley Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and researcher, Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center
(510) 643-8623
Email: nsitar@ce.berkeley.edu
Areas of expertise: Geotechnical engineering, landslides, stability of natural and reinforced slopes.