Members will hear testimony on reauthorization of the NEHRP program. Senator Brownback will preside. Following is a tentative witness list (not necessarily in order of appearance):
Witness Panel 1
Mr. Archibald C. Reid, III
Dr. David Applegate
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to discuss H.R. 2608, a bill which reauthorizes the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), as well as the role of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in this critically important partnership. Let me state at the outset that the Department of the Interior (Department) strongly supports the reauthorization of NEHRP through H.R. 2608. The NEHRP has generated considerable benefit to the nation for over twenty-five years. Through NEHRP, the United States has made substantial progress in earthquake awareness, preparedness, and safety. Immense efforts have gone into planning earthquake emergency response, retrofitting existing structures, and ensuring that new structures are built to withstand expected shaking levels. USGS has contributed to these efforts through its hazard assessment, monitoring, and research efforts, and we are poised to build on these accomplishments, helping to protect lives and property in future earthquakes that will strike the United States. Earthquakes are the most costly, single-event natural hazard faced by the United States. The work supported by the four NEHRP agencies – the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Science Foundation (NSF), and USGS – has yielded major advances in earthquake preparedness and monitoring, as well as a vastly improved understanding of earthquake hazards, effects, and processes. Within the overall NEHRP mandate, the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program is specifically tasked with providing earthquake monitoring and notifications, assessing seismic hazards, and conducting research needed to reduce the risk from earthquake hazards nationwide. Since the last reauthorization of NEHRP, a great deal has changed in the world. The Nation’s attention is focused on preventing the unnatural hazard of terrorism, and FEMA is no longer an independent agency but part of the Department of Homeland Security. Yet even as we seek to counter new threats, we must continue to address the Nation’s continued vulnerability to natural disasters. To underscore this point, we can turn to one of the Nation’s most critical pieces of infrastructure, the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. Thirty years ago, as the pipeline route was being designed, geoscientists worked to address the hazard posed where the pipeline crossed active faults. Based on geologic evidence of past earthquakes, engineers designed a system of teflon-coated slider bars over a zone where the pipeline crossed the Denali fault in central Alaska. On November 3, 2002, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake on the Denali fault produced 20 feet of displacement directly across the pipeline. The engineered system allowed the pipeline to accommodate the motion and the pipeline did not break. An environmental disaster was averted and a threat to our energy security was avoided. A great deal of critical infrastructure is located in seismically active areas of the Nation, as well as in homes, schools, hospitals and other important structures that make up the built environment. These seismically active areas affect 150 million people in 39 states. NEHRP remains a potent vehicle for ensuring that we continue to work to improve the overall resilience of the Nation. USGS NEHRP Activities Within NEHRP, USGS provides fundamental earth science information, hazard analyses, and research that form the foundation for cost-effective earthquake risk reduction measures. In fiscal year (FY) 2004, USGS received $47.4 million to support NEHRP work. The three major USGS activities within NEHRP are: · Assessment and quantification of seismic hazards. USGS produces and demonstrates the application of products that enable the public and private sectors to assess earthquake risks and implement effective mitigation strategies. This activity represents approximately 40 percent of the program’s work. · Operation, modernization, and expansion of real-time earthquake monitoring and notification systems. USGS operates a national monitoring program, collecting, interpreting, and disseminating information on earthquake occurrences throughout the United States, and significant earthquakes worldwide, in support of disaster response, scientific research, national security, earthquake preparedness, and public education. This activity represents another 40 percent of the program’s work. · Increasing scientific understanding of earthquake processes and effects. USGS pursues research on earthquake processes and effects for the purpose of developing and improving hazard assessment methods and loss reduction strategies. This activity represents the remaining 20 percent of the program’s work. The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program activities are focused on the Nation, as a whole, and on five broad geographical regions, addressing particular regional needs and problems in areas where the earthquake risk is greatest. These regions are Southern California, Northern California, the Pacific Northwest (including Alaska), the Intermountain West, and the central and eastern United States (including Puerto Rico). Approximately one-fourth of USGS NEHRP dollars fund activities, investigations, and research outside USGS. Each year about 115 research grants are supported at universities and in state governments and the private sector. USGS also supports 16 cooperative agreements to support the operation of 14 regional seismic networks maintained by universities. In a cooperative effort with NSF, USGS provides support to the Southern California Earthquake Center, a leading effort in earthquake research by a consortium of universities led by the University of Southern California. By involving our non-federal partners through targeted research grants and cooperative agreements, USGS increases its geographical and institutional impact, promotes earthquake awareness across the Nation, encourages the application of new hazards assessment techniques by state and local governments and the private sector, and increases the level of technical knowledge within state and local government agencies. This external support often leverages funding from other sources, extending the program’s reach and providing expertise and flexibility to augment internal capabilities. National and Urban Earthquake Hazard Assessments USGS carries out quantitative earthquake hazard assessments on national and regional scales. The national seismic hazard assessments are USGS’s flagship product under NEHRP, and form the scientific basis of seismic provisions in building codes enacted throughout the United States. These assessments integrate results of geologic mapping, field studies of fault locations and slip rates, analyses of seismicity patterns and rates, and crustal deformation measurements. Hazard maps based on these assessments are prepared in digital format and estimate the severity of expected ground shaking at some 150,000 points nationwide. The maps and their associated databases are also used to predict earthquake losses and to define insurance risks and premiums. Periodic review and revision of these maps, as new data become available, are a high program priority. The latest revision of these maps was completed in 2002, and we have already begun the work for new, improved maps by 2008. Ten years ago these hazard maps were based on four broad, qualitative zones that were used to describe the earthquake hazard nationwide. This depiction and classification of the nation’s earthquake hazard was inadequate. The 1996 national seismic hazard maps are included in design maps in the NEHRP Recommended Provisions, published by the Building Seismic Safety Council and FEMA. In turn, these provisions are used in the 2000 International Building Code (IBC), which merges the three major national model codes. The IBC and the International Residential Code have been adopted by jurisdictions in 37 states. Thus, this NEHRP product, the set of national seismic hazard maps, is used to make billions of dollars of new construction each year safer from earthquakes. The national seismic hazard maps are also used in the FEMA retrofit guidelines, ensuring that older buildings are strengthened so that they withstand future earthquakes. These maps and associated products are also used in the design of highway bridges, landfills under EPA regulation, and dams, as well as for setting earthquake insurance premiums and the cost of re-insurance. For example, the California Earthquake Authority uses the seismic hazard maps to set earthquake premiums for the state earthquake insurance program. Presidential executive orders specify that new and leased federal buildings must adhere to the NEHRP Recommended Provisions. For urban areas with high to moderate seismic risk, USGS works with partners to generate more detailed hazard maps that take into account variations in the amplitude and duration of seismic shaking caused by local geologic structures and soil conditions. USGS works in areas such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Memphis, and St. Louis to produce maps and databases that show the variations in ground shaking patterns that can be expected from local conditions. The Advanced National Seismic System: Earthquake Monitoring and Notification USGS is the only federal agency responsible for the routine monitoring and notification of earthquake occurrences. USGS’s monitoring activities are being integrated into the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS), an effort that was authorized in the last NEHRP reauthorization in 2000 in order to modernize and expand earthquake monitoring and notification nationwide. USGS operates the ANSS Backbone (formerly U.S. National Seismograph Network), the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), and the National Strong Motion Program, and supports 14 regional networks in areas of moderate to high seismic activity. Rapid and reliable information on the location, magnitude, and effects of an earthquake is needed to guide emergency response, save lives, reduce economic losses, and speed recovery. Additionally, the seismic data from routine network operations are essential to define and improve the models of earthquake occurrence, fault activity, and earth structure. Today, digital data flow from hundreds of seismometers over dedicated communication links to regional and national data centers. At these centers, computers use complex analysis programs to process the data, automatically and instantaneously generating epicenters and magnitudes and then broadcasting the results within seconds. Significant progress has been made in the development of the ANSS. A management structure is in place that includes regional implementation and advisory groups with national level oversight and coordination. By the end of 2004, USGS and its regional partners will have installed nearly 500 new seismic sensors in urban areas of the United States, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Reno, Anchorage, and Memphis. ANSS capitalizes on the revolution in information technology to achieve dramatic advances in real-time seismic data analysis and rapid earthquake notification. Data from earthquake sensors in urban areas can be used to produce, within a few minutes of earthquake occurrence, a map showing the actual severity and distribution of strong ground shaking caused by an earthquake. Emergency management officials and others use these “ShakeMaps” to direct emergency response to the earthquake. Data can be imported into FEMA’s HAZUS software to provide a rapid estimation of losses, providing critical information in the first hours after an event, a process that used to take days. Some form of sensor-based ShakeMap capability now exists for Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Anchorage, and Salt Lake City. With additional support, this capability can be deployed in all large urban areas with high seismic risk. The success of ShakeMap depends on adequate ANSS instrumentation and effective USGS partnerships with the user community. Complementing ShakeMap is a suite of near-real-time earthquake products, including earthquake paging and e-mail services, earthquake location maps, automatic Web pages for significant events, and aftershock probability estimators. Recently we established a web-based interface to provide Internet users with a means of recording individual earthquakes experiences and compiling these into summary maps of shaking intensity (“Did-You-Feel-It?”), and nearly 500,000 responses have been received to date. The Earthquake Hazards Program’s Web site is among the most popular federal government sites, receiving tens of thousands of hits per day. These products provide rapid, reliable, and comprehensive information about earthquakes in the United States and worldwide. ANSS sensors in urban areas also provide the data necessary to improve earthquake resistant building design and construction practices. These instruments will provide quantitative data on how the ground actually shook during an earthquake. The data will inform engineering studies to improve site characterization and infrastructure performance. Better Understanding of Earthquake Processes and Effects With the goal of improving hazard assessments, earthquake forecasts and earthquake monitoring products, USGS conducts and supports targeted research on earthquake processes and effects. This is an effort to increase our understanding of the plate-tectonic processes that lead to earthquakes, the physics of earthquake initiation and growth, the propagation of strong shaking through the Earth’s crustal and surficial layers, and the triggering of landslides, rock falls, and other ground failures by seismic shaking. This research is based on theoretical, laboratory, and field studies and addresses many of the fundamental problems of earthquake occurrence and consequences. Practical outcomes of such research include improvements in the precision and reliability of seismic hazard assessments, reducing their uncertainty and leading to the development of tools for more effective, precise and fiscally prudent mitigation. Another practical outcome is improvement in our ability to predict the location, size and impact of future large earthquakes in the United States. Progress in earthquake hazard assessments during the past 25 years is rooted in pioneering USGS field, laboratory, and theoretical research focused on understanding the basic physical processes of earthquakes. Working with User Communities USGS believes that all of its work under NEHRP must relate to reducing public risk from earthquake hazards. We make strong efforts to engage those communities of users of our information, assessment products, and research. In 2002, under the authority of P.L. 106-503, the Fire Administration Authorization Act of 2000, USGS established a Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee (SESAC) to advise USGS on its roles, goals, and objectives within NEHRP, to review its capabilities and research needs, and to provide guidance on achieving major objectives and performance goals. SESAC members have backgrounds in geology, seismology, and engineering and represent academia, state governments, and the private sector. The SESAC has met six times during the past two years and has provided three reports to this Committee on its findings, submitting its most recent report in December, 2003. The development of the national seismic hazard maps involves an exhaustive process in which we engage seismologists, geologists, and engineers on the regional and national levels. Regional workshops are held at which new data and studies on earthquake hazards are presented and discussed. The changes that will result in incorporating the new results into revised maps are also presented and discussed. Every effort is made to reach a consensus on the validity of the new results and on the resulting changes in the hazard maps. At the national level, we work with FEMA, the National Institute of Building Safety, the Building Seismic Safety Council, the Building Officials Conference of America, and the American Society of Civil Engineers to ensure that the maps are of maximum practical use to the engineering and construction communities. Our work on regional hazard assessments in northern and southern California, Seattle, and Memphis is carried out in participation and collaboration with regional and local governments and local interest groups. These groups provide essential input on what information is needed and the form in which it is needed to be of greatest practical use. Within the ANSS management structure, there are six regional advisory committees and a national steering committee. These committees are made up of engineers, seismologists, and emergency management officials. The regional advisory committees ensure that the implementation of ANSS meets regional requirements, while the national committee ensures that the program is developed as an integrated system with national operating standards and equipment specifications. USGS maintains close ties with professional groups, like the Seismological Society of America and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, and works closely with and support regional consortia such as the Central United States Earthquake Consortium, the Western States Seismic Policy Council, and the Cascadia Region Earthquake Working Group, as well as various state geological surveys and seismic safety commissions. In addition to working with our federal NEHRP colleagues, we have strong ties to the Tsunami Warning Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Bureau of Reclamation, and various elements of the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Transportation. USGS has worked with the Red Cross and other agencies to prepare Sunday newspaper inserts on earthquake awareness for San Francisco and Anchorage. A USGS employee wrote the pamphlet “Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country,” published and distributed throughout southern California by FEMA, the State of California, the Red Cross, and the Southern California Earthquake Center. The California Earthquake Authority sponsored the printing and distribution of a large number of copies for their customers. Acting Globally: International Earthquake Information and Research The same analysis systems and facilities that process data for domestic earthquakes also use data from the Global Seismograph Network (GSN) to monitor foreign earthquakes. Notifications of large foreign earthquakes are provided to the Department of State, the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Red Cross, and the news media. In the case of major earthquakes around the globe, USGS is developing the capability to provide these entities with not only the location but also a map of probable ground-shaking intensity and an estimate of the population possibly exposed to dangerous levels of ground shaking, helping provide an early estimate of the societal impact of a major earthquake even before reports start to filter in. Since the beginning of NEHRP, USGS has had formal, active scientific exchange programs with Russia, Japan, and the Peoples Republic of China. In prior years, before development of the Internet and the end of the Cold War, these exchanges were rather stiff and prescribed with formal annual meetings at which details of joint research projects were negotiated. The annual meetings continue, but are now strengthened by a continual flow of information and ideas between participants on all sides through electronic mail and personal visits. USGS also has scientific exchange programs with institutes in France, Italy, Turkey, Mexico, and Canada. After large, foreign earthquakes, if lessons can be learned for application in the United States, or when assistance is requested, USGS sends teams of scientists to carry out post-earthquake investigations. During the past 25 years, USGS has sent teams to investigate earthquakes in dozens of countries. Most of these investigations have led to scientific reports that are provided to the host country and many have led to extensive collaborative work between USGS and foreign scientists. Improving NEHRP Through H.R. 2608 As noted at the beginning of my statement, we support reauthorization of the NEHRP through H.R. 2608, but offer the following comments. USGS believes that, while coordination among NEHRP agencies is good, it can be improved. There is close coordination on a programmatic level between USGS and NSF in the planning and deployment of NSF’s EarthScope initiative. The two agencies coordinate research support for the Southern California Earthquake Center. USGS scientists and engineers are also involved in NSF’s NEES initiative, and USGS engineers sit on NIST panels addressing building safety. ShakeMap data provide a key input to FEMA’s HAZUS loss estimation software and work continues to strengthen the linkages between these two powerful tools. This past year, the four agencies worked together to develop the NEHRP Plan to Coordinate Post-earthquake Investigations, which dictates and coordinates the steps to be taken by each NEHRP agency in the aftermath of a destructive earthquake. It also spells out the role of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute in conducting post-earthquake geotechnical and structural engineering investigations. Moreover, stronger direction to the overall NEHRP program would be constructive. We welcome Congress’s attention to how best to achieve more focused leadership to the program. For example, because of provisions in the previous reauthorization, we now benefit from the advice and guidance of the Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee. USGS supports the establishment, in H.R. 2608, of a similar advisory body for the entire NEHRP effort, as we believe it would provide the stimulus and guidance to ensure greater coordination, cooperation, and planning. We also believe that provisions to ensure close coordination between SESAC and the new NEHRP-wide advisory committee would be beneficial. NEHRP Challenges and USGS Plans Although much has been accomplished under NEHRP, much remains to be done to ensure safety and reduce economic losses in future earthquakes. The country’s population and economy continue to grow in earthquake prone areas. Exposure to earthquake risk continues to increase. Emergency officials, lifeline managers, the news media, and the public expect immediate, reliable, and complete information on the location, magnitude, impact, and effects of any and all earthquakes. Earthquake hazard information used in model building codes is applied for public safety only; that is to keep the structure from collapsing. The building may be a total loss, but the inhabitants are expected to be safe. Financial and engineering interests are now pursuing the more sophisticated, and more complicated, concept of performance-based design. Under this concept, the structure is designed and constructed so that it will meet a desired performance level during and after an earthquake. For example, the owners and occupants of a structure housing a national corporate headquarters may want it designed so that it will be completely functional immediately after a strong earthquake. Performance-based design concepts require more extensive and complete data on the nature and variation of ground shaking and building response to earthquakes. Going forward, USGS will continue to build on existing earthquake monitoring, assessment, and research activities with the ultimate goal of providing the Nation with earthquake products that promote earthquake mitigation and facilitate earthquake response. At the heart of this effort will be a continued emphasis on delivering information that is useful, accessible, and easily understood. By working closely with policymakers and emergency planners, USGS will ensure that they have the most reliable and accurate information possible about earthquake hazards and that our products are tailored to their needs. USGS will participate in local and national earthquake mitigation planning exercises and help train emergency responders, contingency planners, risk managers, the media, and others in how to use earthquake hazard assessments and real-time information products. We will also continue to work directly with communities to help them understand their vulnerabilities and to plan mitigation actions. Critical decisions for earthquake preparedness and response, including continued corporate and government operations, are often made far from areas of high seismic hazard. So that informed and appropriate actions can be taken, we will continue to work to ensure that earthquake hazard information and products are useful and familiar to decision makers even in regions of low seismic hazard. Advanced National Seismic System. The ANSS initiative is intended to contribute to reducing loss of life and property in earthquakes through monitoring actual ground shaking levels in urban areas and the dynamic performance of structures and lifelines (ie. electric grids) in earthquakes. ANSS will collect this information through a nationwide network of sophisticated shaking monitors, placed both on the ground and in buildings in urban areas in seismically active regions. One important component of ANSS is the instrumentation of buildings. If hundreds of buildings in high-risk areas are instrumented with seismometers, engineers can determine how specific types of buildings respond to earthquake shaking. To date, three buildings have been instrumented under the ANSS initiative. Currently, the spacing of ground seismometers is not sufficient to correlate the ground shaking to the performance of specific buildings. Although model building codes set earthquake-resistant standards for broad, general classes of structures (i.e. wood frame, residential) on a generic soil type, these instruments will provide data about how more complicated buildings (i.e. steel-moment frame and non-ductile concrete frame) buildings perform during earthquakes and how to design buildings that will perform better during violent shaking. A key goal of ANSS is improved reliability, timeliness, and breadth of USGS near-real-time earthquake products for emergency response purposes in 26 urban areas with the highest seismic risk. ShakeMap, in particular, requires data input from a modern seismic network with digital strong motion recording capabilities and real-time telecommunications feeds. Few urban areas possess this type of modern technology. For this reason, ShakeMap is currently only available in a handful of cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Anchorage, and Salt Lake City). Future deployment of sensors will be critical to delivering information to emergency managers when and where they need it. The expansion of these capabilities is a high priority for ANSS and for NEHRP as a whole. It is important to note that the instruments and automatic analysis systems being deployed and developed within the ANSS effort can detect, locate, and determine the severity of large, non-natural events that generate seismic energy, such as explosions and impacts. Earthquake warnings. As the ANSS system develops, it will be technically possible, under some conditions, to issue warnings within a few tens of seconds of the initiation of strong ground shaking. The seismic waves that carry strong shaking travel at about 2 miles-per-second. If an earthquake occurs 100 miles outside of an urban area, data from ANSS sensors near the epicenter can immediately be transmitted over robust communication links to a data analysis center. Here the data can be analyzed automatically, within a few seconds, to determine that a strong earthquake has occurred. A warning could then be issued via radio to the urban area that strong earthquake shaking is imminent. The warning would give school children time to get under their desks, surgeons time to safely pause their procedures, and provide time to suspend the pumping of toxic materials and other hazardous activities. USGS is taking the lead in demonstrating this capability; however its implementation must be done in cooperation with local and regional governments. Integrating essential data for expanded urban hazard assessments. Most current USGS earthquake hazard assessments are compiled on regional or national scales. These estimates typically are limited to calculating hazards on hard rock conditions as opposed to the actual soil conditions beneath cities and lifelines. At scales needed for urban planning and development, assessments need to account for the amplifying effects of soils and the potential for ground failures, such as liquefaction and landslides. USGS pilot urban assessments in Oakland, Seattle, and Memphis have shown the usefulness of detailed urban assessments. Central to this effort will be the integration of data on local geology, site conditions, and ground motions needed to produce detailed urban hazard maps. These data integration efforts will require partnerships with state geological surveys and local agencies. As these hazard assessments evolve, they will allow estimates of potential earthquake losses to building stocks and critical lifelines. This is one of the keys to developing cost effective mitigation strategies to reduce future earthquake losses. In the coming year, the urban hazard assessment for Memphis is coming to completion as new projects get underway in St. Louis and in Evansville, Indiana (with adjoining areas of Kentucky). In addition to not taking into account variations in local geology, the national scale assessments do not consider the time dependence of earthquake occurrence. For example, if a large, magnitude 8 earthquake occurs on the northern San Andreas Fault in California tomorrow, it is unlikely that an earthquake of similar magnitude will occur on the same fault a year from now, simply because a large portion of the built-up strain in that region of the Earth’s crust will have been relieved. Studies of regional strain result in forecasts of the probabilities of future earthquakes on individual active faults and across the region as a whole. USGS has published an exhaustive study of the earthquake probabilities in the San Francisco Bay region, which estimates a 62 percent chance of an earthquake of magnitude 6.7 or greater in the region before 2031. A similar effort is underway for the Los Angeles region and represents an important step in developing the next generation of seismic hazard forecasting. Understanding earthquake hazards in the Eastern United States. The USGS earthquake hazards program devotes approximately 75 percent of its resources to work in the Western United States, primarily because the hazard there is greater. However, history demonstrates that a catastrophic quake could also strike a major city in the Eastern United States. Four damaging earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 7, centered in the New Madrid, Missouri, area struck the Mississippi Valley in 1811-1812. Charleston, South Carolina, was devastated by a magnitude 6.7 shock in 1886, and a magnitude 6.0 quake struck the Boston area in 1755. USGS and FEMA studies show that urban areas in the Eastern United States will incur far greater damage and far more deaths in a quake of a given magnitude than those in the West for several reasons, including because of differences in regional geology, shaking affects a much larger area for the same magnitude earthquake, most structures are not designed to resist earthquakes, and population density is high and residents are not routinely educated about seismic safety. USGS is developing methods and understanding that could improve our understanding of the earthquake hazard in the East, where the causative earthquake faults are rarely exposed at the surface and the subsurface conditions beneath major cities are poorly documented. More thorough and accurate assessment of the seismic risk faced by major urban centers in the East will reveal the greatest vulnerabilities and serve as key input to evaluate possible mitigation strategies. Earthquake hazards in Alaska. Alaska has the greatest exposure to earthquake hazards of any state. Because of the relatively small urban population, many assume the risk is low compared to the rest of the country. However, the impact of a devastating earthquake in Alaska can extend far beyond its borders, both by generating deadly tsunamis and through economic consequences. Alaska is a major source of natural resources for the rest of the Nation, a major transportation and commercial node of the Pacific Rim, and of significant importance to national defense. Capitalizing on new national seismic research facilities. As described in the 2003 National Research Council report, Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science, continued progress toward evaluating earthquake hazards will increasingly require integrative research involving theoretical studies of processes controlling earthquake phenomena, sophisticated numerical modeling, in situ, ground-based, and space-based field observations, and laboratory simulations. Data collection and monitoring facilities developed during the first 25 years of NEHRP are aging and becoming obsolete. Recent and proposed government investments in a number of major earth science and engineering facilities offer, for the first time, the breadth and depth of data required to truly address the physical nature of earthquakes. USGS will take advantage of these new data streams to perform earthquake hazard focused experiments on scales never before possible. To improve long-term hazard assessments, USGS will also create region-specific earthquake occurrence models that simulate the multiple factors operating in active fault systems. A major goal will be to understand the criteria for the occurrence of earthquakes within a fault system and the impact of one quake on the system through the many processes that transfer stresses. To determine if earthquakes are predictable, USGS will build physics-based computer models of earthquake likelihood, akin to models used for weather forecasting. Earthquake prediction. Reliable prediction of the time, place, and magnitude of future large earthquakes is the “holy grail” of earthquake science. USGS understands that earthquake prediction is not possible without a foundation based on a much more complete understanding of earthquake physics and processes. During the past decade, we have seen considerable progress in the understanding of earthquake processes. This progress in understanding could contribute to advancing reliable earthquake prediction. But, in order to do so, it would be necessary to review the current state of knowledge, identify the scientific problems that should be addressed, and develop a strategy to address these issues. The Stafford Act tasks the USGS Director with responsibility for issuing warnings for earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides. In light of that responsibility and the growing interest in short-term earthquake prediction, the 2003 SESAC report calls on USGS to take on an aggressive role in evaluating and validating proposed prediction tools so the public understands the true risks associated with a given seismic area. SESAC has also recommended that USGS re-establish the National Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council “to serve as a forum to review predictions and resolve scientific debate prior to public controversy or misrepresentation.” On the basis of this recommendation, USGS is in the process of re-chartering the Council. Conclusion After 25 years of NEHRP, USGS has become a world scientific leader in seismic hazard studies. In implementing the results of these studies to mitigate the effects of earthquakes, USGS has actively collaborated with state geologic surveys, emergency response officials, earthquake engineers, local government, and the public. This has resulted in dramatic improvement in building safety and earthquake response in the United States. However, there is still much to be done. By integrating USGS earthquake information with data from new national initiatives, such as ANSS, we will be able to develop a new generation of effective and efficient earthquake hazard assessment and mitigation tools. These tools will be used to further reduce loss of life and property in future earthquakes that will strike seismically hazardous regions. With this in mind, we support reauthorization of the NEHRP, through H.R. 2608, however, the funding levels authorized in the bill are not consistent with the President’s FY 2005 budget request, and must be compete with existing priorities. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, we look forward to making additional progress in this important field and for the opportunity to submit this statement. I would be happy to answer any questions or provide additional information.
Dr. Galip Ulsoy
Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee: I appreciate the opportunity to submit this testimony from the National Science Foundation (NSF) concerning the Subcommittee’s reauthorization of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). NEHRP was established in 1977 and operates as an effective multi-agency partnership; NSF is privileged to serve as a NEHRP agency. We are confident that NEHRP - in collaboration with other Federal agencies, local and state governments, colleges and universities, and private sector organizations throughout the country - will continue to take crucial steps toward meeting the challenge of reducing deaths, injuries and property damage caused by earthquakes in the years to come. In order to provide context for the NSF involvement in the NEHRP partnership, let me first discuss the broader NSF mission. The NSF Mission In this era of dynamic change, in which science and technology play an increasingly central role, NSF has remained steadfast in pursuit of its mission: to support science and engineering research and education for the advancement of the nation’s well being. Knowledge is our strongest insurance for preparedness. The Foundation is that main source of funding for the growth in fundamental scientific knowledge and, at the colleges and universities funded by NSF, scientists and engineers are working to provide more effective earthquake predictions and to discover ever more effective approaches to their prevention and amelioration. The perspective of each NEHRP agency is critical to creating a complete picture of the nation’s vulnerability to earthquakes – an understanding that leads to effective mitigation and hazard reduction. Collectively, we cover the spectrum from natural and social sciences to engineering, from discovery to implementation, from response to mitigation. With the vulnerability of the nation to natural hazards growing increasingly complex, we need an integrated, multi-agency perspective to make significant progress. Role of NSF in NEHRP NSF supports research and educational activities in many disciplines, and this is reflected in our role within NEHRP. Our role complements the responsibilities assigned to our principal partners in the program: the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the US Geological Survey (USGS), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NSF is involved in continuing strategic planning with the other NEHRP agencies in order to further interagency coordination and integration. Legislation authorizing NEHRP called for NSF to support studies in the earth sciences, earthquake engineering, and the social sciences. Since 1977, NSF investments have supported growth of vibrant hazards-related research communities in engineering, geosciences, and in the social sciences. Leadership from the engineering research community has been important to technology transfer of research outcomes into practice and into improvements in codes and standards. NSF's investments in center-based research (the Earthquake Engineering Research Centers - EERCs, and the Southern California Earthquake Center- SCEC) have been very important for the integration of social sciences into engineering and geoscience research questions, and NSF’s investments in IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) have resulted in an effective global network for seismic monitoring. The EERCs are recognized for global leadership in the development of new concepts of performance-based earthquake engineering (PBEE), and consequence-based approaches to understanding the performance and vulnerability of complex infrastructure systems. NSF’s centers programs provide very useful institutional arrangements for conducting complex holistic research, and this tradition will be carried into the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) project as it becomes fully operational at the end of FY 2004. During 2003, NSF supported the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to develop a long-term research and education plan to advance the state-of-the-art and the state-of-the-practice in earthquake engineering and earthquake loss reduction and to identify grand challenges in earthquake engineering research. The result is a comprehensive, community-held vision that includes buy-in from all sectors and disciplines including academics, practicing engineers and geoscientists, social scientists, and government employees and regulators. The plan takes advantage of opportunities presented by high performance computing, information systems, simulation and visualization (see Securing Society Against Catastrophic Earthquake Losses: A Research and Outreach Plan in Earthquake Engineering, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, 2003, and also Preventing Earthquake Disasters: The Grand Challenge in Earthquake Engineering, National Research Council, 2003). Earthquake and hazards-related research and educational activities are supported in many of the programs at NSF, including particular contributions from the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE), the Geosciences (GEO) and the Engineering (ENG) Directorates. Fundamental seismic research is funded in GEO, while ENG supports fundamental earthquake engineering research. Social science research related to earthquake hazard mitigation and preparedness is supported through the SBE and ENG Directorates. Significant progress continues to be made in these programs in understanding plate tectonics and seismic processes, geotechnical and structural engineering, and the social and economic aspects of earthquake hazard reduction. In addition to the four NEHRP-funded earthquake centers, numerous individual investigator and small group projects related to earthquakes are also supported by NSF. Other NEHRP-related NSF activities include programs involving earthquake research facilities, post-earthquake investigations, international cooperation, and information dissemination. In the remainder of this testimony, recent highlights of such activities will be briefly described. Research Facilities NEHRP legislation has reinforced NSF’s own expectations regarding the important role for NSF to ensure that U.S. researchers have the required facilities to conduct cutting-edge research well into the next century. The George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) Previous NEHRP legislation called for NSF, in collaboration with the other NEHRP partners, to develop a comprehensive plan for modernizing and integrating experimental earthquake engineering research facilities in the U.S. That plan was completed and implemented as an NSF Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) project – the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). In 1999, the NEES project was authorized for construction between FY2000 and FY2004. The current FY2004 budget includes the final increment of $8.0 million for completion of this $81.8 million project. NEES will be a networked simulation resource of fifteen geographically-distributed, shared use next-generation experimental research equipment sites. The NEES sites were identified through peer-reviewed proposal competitions and include facilities under construction in California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah. The NEES experimental capabilities will lead to new tools for modeling, simulation, and visualization of site, structural, and nonstructural response to earthquakes and tsunami effects. NEES will provide an unprecedented engineering capability for attacking major earthquake problems with coordinated multi-organizational teams, producing convincing results that can be adopted into building codes and engineering practice. · NEES experimental research equipment, located at U.S. universities or off-campus field sites, includes shake tables, geotechnical centrifuges, a tsunami wave basin, large-scale laboratory experimentation systems, and field experimentation and monitoring installations. · The NEES network links nation-wide users and equipment sites through a high performance Internet system that will include web-based collaborative tools, data and simulation software repositories. The NEES network also provides access to leading edge compute resources. · Through the network, researchers can remotely interact with each other and with their experimental and simulation tools via “telepresence” tools. NEES will also serve as a major educational tool. Undergraduate and graduate students throughout the U.S. will be able to access the network for data, information, and course material as well as to participate in various experiments. Involvement with NEES will also enable students to sharpen skills in utilizing modern information technology tools and resources. These learning opportunities could be made available for pre-college students as well as college students, ushering in an unprecedented appreciation for earthquake problems and a new age for earthquake engineering education. Proposal competitions for all equipment sites and the NEES Internet-based network were completed by FY2002. All awards are by cooperative agreement and all projects are on schedule and at budget. The sites and the network will be operational by September 30, 2004. Internet sites for NEES are established as http://www.nees.org for the sites and the overall project, and http://www.neesgrid.org for the network. From FY2005, the NEES network and facilities will be maintained and operated by the non-profit NEES Consortium, Inc. The NEES Consortium will be funded by NSF to provide the leadership, management, and coordination for all the NEES shared-use resources. The NEES experimental capabilities will lead to new tools for modeling, simulation, and visualization of site, structural, and nonstructural response to earthquakes and tsunami effects. NEES will provide an unprecedented engineering capability for attacking major earthquake problems with coordinated multi-organizational teams, producing convincing results that can be adopted into building codes and engineering practice. NEES experimental resources and data are expected to be used annually by approximately 1,000 U.S. researchers and students, and the Consortium is expected to develop as a broad and integrated partnership in earthquake engineering community, both within the U.S. and abroad, as equipment sites around the world join the NEES network. We expect NEES to lead to a new age in earthquake engineering research and education. It should be well worth the large investment. We look forward to keeping the Subcommittee informed about its development. EarthScope Progress in earthquake prediction and hazard mitigation is critically dependent on results of studies that probe fundamental earthquake processes. Knowledge of regional tectonic conditions enables geophysicists to establish the long-term level of earthquake hazards. Understanding stress accumulation provides the basis for identifying and interpreting earthquake processes. Knowledge of the rupture process, particularly the effects of the local geology on ruptures, provides the basis for estimates of ground shaking. The compelling need for such knowledge has led to the development of the EarthScope project, first authorized and funded in FY2003. EarthScope is also an MREFC project, developed with partnership from USGS and NASA. EarthScope will apply modern observational, analytical, and telecommunications technologies to investigate the long-term structure and evolution of the North American continent and the physical processes controlling earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. When fully deployed, EarthScope’s components will include modern digital seismic arrays, global positioning satellite receivers, strainmeters and new satellite radar imagery, and an observatory deep within the San Andreas Fault. The need for knowledge about earthquake processes also explains the intellectual support at NSF for the USGS project – the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS). ANSS is a permanent national network of shaking measurement systems that will make it possible to provide emergency response personnel with real-time earthquake information, provide engineers with information about building and site response, and provide scientists with high-quality data to understand earthquake processes and solid earth structure and dynamics. ANSS includes a strong emphasis on urban areas and the response of buildings to shaking. Discussions are underway to link the ANSS resource with EarthScope, NEES and the NSF research programs. NSF expects strong synergy among EarthScope, ANSS and the NEES network, and we will be sure to keep the Subcommittee informed about their progress. Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) In 1984, the seismological community created the IRIS initiative: the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology. The IRIS constituency, now at 100 members, includes virtually all U.S. universities with research programs in seismology, plus 44 foreign affiliates. Through IRIS, NSF supports two instrumentation programs that are needed for seismology to take advantage of the many advances in instrumentation and computer technology that have taken place: a permanent network - the Global Seismographic Network (GSN) – in cooperation with USGS; and a portable seismic array - the Program for Array Seismic Studies of the Continental Lithosphere (PASSCAL). The GSN plan for 120 stations evenly placed throughout the world has been essentially completed. The past two years have seen a number of accomplishments. Use of the GSN seismometers in a rapid analysis of damaging earthquakes has been invaluable. Attention is now being directed toward the much more difficult job of instrumenting the large gaps in the network consisting of the major ocean basins of the world. The IRIS GSN is a founding member of the Federation of Digital Seismographic Networks (FDSN). Other participating networks include Canada, Germany, the French Geoscope, Italy's Mednet, and Japan's Poseidon. FDSN stations worldwide now total about 180. The PASSCAL plan is for a portable array of 1000 seismic instruments for detailed study of the lithosphere and rapid response to monitor earthquake occurrence or possible earthquake precursors. The PASSCAL Instrument Center is at the University of New Mexico. 600 PASSCAL instruments are now available for fieldwork and they are being used in a number of projects in the US and throughout the world. The IRIS Data Management Center (DMC) was developed to handle the extremely large volume of digital data that is generated, stored, and accessed by the seismological community. Data is provided through Data Collection Centers in Albuquerque and San Diego to the data archive/mass store in Seattle. Users have network access to the archive and to IRIS headquarters for more general information services. All FDSN data, from 180 stations worldwide, and all PASSCAL project data are available at the DMC, which serves as the first FDSN archive for continuous data. Over 14 terabytes were stored in the DMC at the end of 2002 and it continues to grow at about 3 terabytes per year. A measure of the success of IRIS's effort is the remarkable number of investigators making use of DMC data. In 2002, there were more than 45,000 data requests serviced by the DMC for seismic data. Global Positioning Systems NSF has supported development of several Global Positioning System (GPS) networks. The NSF- and USGS-funded Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) has provided the impetus for the development of a large-scale permanent GPS geodetic array in southern California focused on earthquake hazard assessment – a new and ambitious concept for the use of GPS technology. SCEC organized the southern California geodetic community through establishment of the Southern California Integrated GPS Network (SCIGN). SCIGN brings together networks and GPS expertise at UC San Diego, UCLA, MIT, USGS and JPL/NASA. Funding is garnered from many sources, with an implementation plan developed by the SCIGN Steering Committee used to guide resource allocation. The permanent array is now complete at 250 stations. PANGA is an 18-station permanent GPS network installed in the Pacific Northwest with support of NSF and the Canadian Geological Survey in collaboration with the Central Washington University, University of Washington, and Oregon State University. The University NAVSTAR Consortium (UNAVCO) has become UNAVCO, Inc., a non-profit membership-governed organization that supports and promotes Earth science by advancing high-precision geodetic and strain techniques such as those using GPS. UNAVCO, Inc. was formed in response to community support of its role as lead organization for community-based planning and management of new initiatives such as the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO), by establishing corporate oversight, and through the already-established community workshops and working groups. NSF supports separately a number of investigations utilizing the UNAVCO GPS equipment in crustal distortion areas that are prime candidates for future earthquakes. Seismically active areas occupied to date within or near the U.S. include California, New England, the Caribbean, Colorado, Hawaii, Wyoming, and Montana. Outside the U.S., important distortion areas in Turkey, Iceland, Greenland, Asia, and South America are being monitored. NSF Research Centers Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) The Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) was founded in 1991 as an NSF Science and Technology Center, and continues under support from NSF and the USGS. The SCEC headquarters are at the University of Southern California, and the Center includes eight core university partners. Other universities, state and local governments, and private companies are participating in the research and outreach activities. The primary science goal of SCEC is to develop a comprehensive, physics-based understanding of earthquake phenomena in southern California through integrative, multidisciplinary studies of plate-boundary tectonics, active fault systems, fault-zone processes, dynamics of fault ruptures, ground motions, and seismic hazards. Earthquake Engineering Research Centers (EERCs) NSF funded three earthquake engineering research centers (EERCs) in October 1997. Each EERC is a consortium of several academic institutions - with an administrative headquarters at a designated campus - involved in multidisciplinary team research, educational and outreaches activities. The EERCs are combining research across the disciplines of the earth sciences, earthquake engineering, and the social sciences, and some special studies utilizing the results of research conducted at the EERC’s are funded by FEMA. The Mid-America Earthquake Center (MAE) is headquartered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. MAE’s mission is to reduce losses across societal systems through the development of consequence-based engineering approaches that are founded on advanced technologies for characterizing seismic hazards and the response of the built environment. The Multi-disciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) has its headquarters at the State University of New York at Buffalo. MCEER’s vision is to help establish earthquake resilient communities and its mission to discover, nurture, develop, promote, help implement, and, in some instances pilot test, innovative measures and advanced and emerging technologies to reduce losses in future earthquakes in a cost-effective manner. MCEER places significant emphasis on the seismic response of networks and critical facilities. With its administrative headquarters at the University of California at Berkeley, the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) focuses on earthquake problems in areas west of the Rocky Mountains. The main focus for the PEER Center is performance-based earthquake engineering (PBEE) that includes socio-economic evaluation of whether the seismic performance is cost-effective and suitable to the owner and society. The three EERCs are not only involved in research and technology advancement for the mitigation of earthquake damages. In order to meet the needs of future professionals in the field, they are also educating hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students in the latest analytical, computational and experimental techniques. They also reach out to K-12 students to inspire even younger generations in earthquake engineering: An example is PEER's “Learning with LEGO” Program, which brings annually over 500 K-12 students from socio-economically disadvantaged areas to the campus for an open house and shake-table demonstration. The EERCs also engage in a variety of public outreach activities; keeping the public abreast of scientific and technological advancements so they can better understand natural hazards, policy issues, and disaster mitigation as it applies to the individual. · MCEER has worked with the Discovery Channel to develop three programs related to earthquakes. · The PEER Center worked with the California Academy of Sciences to develop the Academy's Earthquakes! Exhibit, which is visited by over 1 million people annually, and focuses on earthquake preparedness and safety. Post-Earthquake Investigations In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, NSF funded quick response research awards that mobilized more than 50 faculty and students to begin the process of observing, recording, and evaluating the impact on the public, the structures, and the organizations involved in response (see Beyond September 11th: An Account of Post-Disaster Research, National Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, University of Colorado, 2003). The National Hazard Research Application and Information Center (NHRAIC) at the University of Colorado at Boulder – a Center funded through NSF with contributions from many federal agencies including FEMA and USGS - coordinated much of the social science research, and the NSF-funded Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems (ICIS, http://www.nyu.edu/icis) provided on-site facilitation and coordination for researchers arriving at the World Trade Center site. In large part, the reason that NSF could move so fast following the events of 9/11 was that there had been so much practice in multiagency coordinated post-disaster investigations following major earthquakes in the United States and abroad. Areas struck by major earthquakes represent natural laboratories, offering unusual opportunities to collect time-sensitive information and to learn vital lessons about earthquake impacts. This data importantly serves to test models and techniques derived from analytical, computational and experimental studies, and to observe and document effects on the natural and built environment and resulting social, economic, and policy impacts. For these reasons and for nearly 30 years, NSF has supported post-disaster investigations in conjunction with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) “Learning from Earthquakes” (LFE) project. The post-earthquake investigations involve quick-response teams of researchers, deployed with close coordination to USGS and other NEHRP agency activities. Recent events investigated with NSF support include: the 2001 earthquakes in Nisqually, Washington; Peru; India; the 2002 earthquakes in Italy; El Salvador, and Alaska; and the 2003 earthquakes in Colima, Mexico and Bam, Iran. The EERCs are also active in post-earthquake reconnaissance. The Centers send students to areas around the world hit by earthquakes. Four MAE applicants traveled to Taiwan to engage in a hands-on field assessment exercise. Future plans call for a group of EERC faculty and 12 graduate students to spend 10 days visiting earthquake sites to complete hands-on field assessment exercises. Also, MCEER’s expertise in earthquake reconnaissance was used to collect and disseminate perishable data in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack for later study to gain a better understanding of how resilience is achieved in physical, engineered and organizational systems. International Collaborative Earthquake Research The National Science Foundation aims at nothing less than U.S. world leadership in science, engineering, and technology. Earthquakes are a global hazard. Many countries find collaborative research and the sharing of information essential in meeting this challenge and the U.S. is no exception. Like the other NEHRP agencies, NSF has a long history of cooperating with other countries - such as China, Mexico, Italy and Japan - facing similar seismic risks. There have been recent developments that serve as excellent examples of how NSF’s efforts enable U.S. earthquake researchers to collaborate effectively with international colleagues. Following the 1999 earthquakes in Izmit, Turkey, and Chi-Chi, Taiwan, NSF made awards to 23 U.S. research teams, each involving collaborators in Turkey and/or Taiwan. In 2002, researchers from the U.S and other countries gathered in Turkey for a workshop on continuing research needs and opportunities. The research outcomes from this program are providing much needed data on strong ground motion near fault ruptures and attenuation of ground motion with distance from the causative fault. The vast number of recording stations, especially in Taiwan, and the similarity between fault systems in the Western US and those in Turkey and Taiwan will greatly aid seismic code development in the United States. The data base for required set-back distances from faults, ground motion estimates close to faults, and similar questions will increase by more than ten times due to the results of research on the Turkey and Taiwan earthquakes. The response of modern high-rise structures designed under Turkish and Taiwanese codes that are very similar to codes in the United States has been documented through this research, as have the effects of construction quality, code enforcement and specific seismic design. This will directly lead to better design and construction techniques to minimize damage from earthquake loading. In addition, a very important determining factor in loss of life and property during earthquakes is the level of preparedness of individuals, companies, national and international institutions and government agencies prior to the earthquake. Several research projects addressed these issues, and information gathered has proven to be invaluable to emergency planners in the United States. Individual researchers also engage in international collaboration. For example, an NSF award to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of California at San Diego includes a significant international component. The researchers will complete experimental studies on the effect of earthquake-induced lateral ground spreading due to liquefaction on pile foundations, both in full size and centrifuge model conditions. The research will take advantage of the NEES experimental facilities in the United States, and facilities operated by the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) in Japan, including the world’s largest shake table (15 m by 20 m) at Miki City. This research constitutes the first opportunity for direct comparison of results in controlled experimental environments between centrifuge and full size tests to be conducted at NIED. The NEES network will be used both during experiment conduct and collaborative development of engineering interpretations and computer simulations. NEHRP, Agency Coordination, and the Future Results of NSF research are carried forward into implementation through involvement of the researchers in professional organizations, and through activities managed by our three sister agencies. In this respect, NSF funding enables a knowledgeable research community to be prepared to answer questions posed by seismic events, and by observations of the performance of the built environment and sociopolitical systems during and after earthquake events. NSF-funded research enables changes warranted in engineering practice, and enhances understanding and assessment of risks and uncertainties in natural, physical, and social environments. NSF-funded fundamental research in base isolation devices was taken up by NIST where methods of test for these systems and provisions for design were developed. NIST’s contributions made it possible for the engineering profession to include base isolation in design of new structures and seismic upgrades, and FEMA funds were instrumental in making the early applications of base isolation systems possible. In a similar sequence of knowledge transfer and implementation, NSF-funded research on geographic distributions of hazards, liquefaction potential and ground instability have directly fed into microzonation assessments and the USGS-produced ShakeMaps. These maps are, in turn, used in HAZUS (HAZards United States), a GIS-based (Geographic Information Systems) technology that FEMA developed and that allows users to compute estimates of damage and losses that could result from an earthquake. The future is bright for the NEHRP agencies, and recent actions have been taken that will enhance coordination of plans and efforts: · FEMA, USGS, NIST and NSF have set up a Subcommittee on Research that is chartered to identify synergies among research and development programs and to identify ways existing programs can work together more effectively; including enhances linkages between ANSS, NEES, EarthScope and the research programs at USGS and NSF. · Under USGS leadership, the NEHRP agencies have worked during FY2002 to create a "Plan to Coordinate NEHRP Post-Earthquake Investigations" that establishes how the agencies will coordinate and share information in the event of a significant national or international earthquake. · During FY2004 the agencies have exercised this plan to provide clarity concerning how the agencies will interact following an earthquake. This has been accomplished through a series of tabletop exercises, with simulated earthquake scenarios, using Internet and teleconferencing. · The NEHRP agencies continue evaluation and updating of the strategic plan, and to maintain the strong ties with stakeholders that were so important to the success in creating the original plan in FY2001. · The NEHRP agencies are also developing an all-agency Internet portal for dissemination of information about research opportunities and outcomes, news releases, plans and activities in a form that can be easily accessed by the research community, government organizations, and the public at large. The new research plan of EERI and NAE that lays out a road map for research and technology transfer, and with the end of construction for NEES in FY2004 and the start of grand challenge research projects using this network and equipment, the initiation of the EarthScope project, continued development of ANSS, and with the coordinated NEHRP post-event response plan in-place - NEHRP is poised to accomplish great things. Mr. Chairman, thank you again for the opportunity to present this testimony. NSF is very excited about what NEHRP has been able to accomplish in the past, and what we expect will be possible to achieve in the future.
Dr. S. Shyam-Sunder
U.S. Department of Commerce Mr. Chairman, and members of the Subcommittee, I am pleased to appear today and testify on H.R. 2608, the proposed bill to reauthorize the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). NEHRP has been an extraordinary, and often exemplary, collaboration between federal agencies, state and local governments, and the private sector. During its first 26 years, NEHRP has contributed in very significant ways to reduce our nation’s vulnerability to the shakes, rattles, and rolls of earthquakes and NIST is proud to have been a part of that record of accomplishment. While it is difficult to quantify loss prevention through the adoption of improved mitigation practices, there is no doubt that NEHRP products and results have contributed in significant ways to reduce the loss of life and economic losses from earthquakes. In addition, the loss of life from earthquakes in the United States has been small compared with similar earthquakes in other countries. My testimony today will describe NIST current responsibilities and activities under NEHRP, how they will change if H.R. 2608 is enacted, our comments on those changes, and the extent to which NIST has the resources to carryout the new tasks. I have also provided as an attachment to the testimony a brief description of some of NIST’s most significant accomplishments supporting NEHRP research. NIST Current Responsibilities and Activities NIST is a natural participant in NEHRP because of its long-time role in providing measurements, standards, and technology to help federal, state, and local government agencies and the private sector protect the nation and its citizens from natural as well as manmade threats. Currently, we have four major responsibilities: 1. To develop seismic design and construction standards for consideration and subsequent adoption in federal construction; 2. To assist federal, state, and local agencies, research and professional organizations, model code groups and others in developing, testing, and improving seismic design and construction provisions to be incorporated into local codes, standards, and practices; 3. To conduct research on performance criteria and supporting measurement technology for earthquake resistant construction; and 4. To participate in NEHRP post-earthquake investigations and analyze the behavior of structures and lifelines, both those that were damaged and those that were undamaged; and to analyze the effectiveness of the earthquake hazards mitigation programs and how they could be strengthened. Early in 2001, a NEHRP Strategic Plan was approved by each of the four participating agencies. This plan identified a technology transfer gap that limits the adaptation of basic research knowledge into practice. The plan recommends an expanded problem-focused research and guidelines development effort to facilitate the implementation of new mitigation technologies. As a first step, NIST requested the Applied Technology Council to convene a workshop of national leaders in earthquake design, practice, regulation, and construction in July of 2002. The purpose of the workshop was to assess the state of knowledge and practice and to suggest an action plan to address the gap between basic research and practice. The action plan identifies industry priorities in two areas: (1) support for the seismic code development process through technical assistance and development of the technical basis for performance standards; and (2) improved seismic design productivity through the development of tools for the evaluation of advanced technologies and practices. The action plan, “The Missing Piece: Improving Seismic Design and Construction Practices (ATC-57),” is available from the Applied Technology Council, www.atcouncil.org. NIST now looks forward to working with the stakeholder community to explore ways to best meet those needs via a public-private partnership. We expect this effort will build on NSF-funded basic academic research, including that conducted as part of the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) Consortium. Our current activities and recent accomplishments are as follows: National Construction Safety Team In the aftermath of the World Trade Center Disaster, Congress has given NIST the authority to investigate major building failures in the United States, including those caused by earthquakes. The National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Act gives NIST the authority to dispatch teams of experts within 48 hours following a major building disaster. Congress anticipated the NCST Act to be applicable to building failures caused by earthquakes. The Act specifies that the NIST Director develop implementing procedures that “provide for coordination with Federal, State, and local entities that may sponsor research or investigation of building failures, including research conducted under the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977.” In addition, the Committee Report 107-530 published by the House Science Committee on June 25, 2002 states that “ The Director should clearly define how earthquake researchers and Teams will carry out their responsibilities in a coordinated fashion in cases where building failures have been caused by an earthquake.” NIST’s responsibilities under the NCST Act have been incorporated into the recently completed plan to coordinate post-earthquake investigation issued by the four agencies comprising the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program. The plan (USGS Circular #1242) states that, within 48 hours, NIST will examine the relevant factors associated with building failures that occur as a result of the earthquake and will make reasonable efforts to consult with the other NEHRP agencies prior to determining whether to conduct an investigation under the Act. Any NIST investigation conducted under the Authority of the Act will be limited to building failures on one or more buildings or on one class or type of building selected by NIST. NIST recently participated in a series of tabletop exercises with representatives of the other NEHRP agencies. The exercises simulated the response to earthquake scenarios in different parts of the United States to test the plan. Interagency Committee on Seismic Safety in Construction NIST chairs and provides the technical secretariat for the Interagency Committee on Seismic Safety in Construction (ICSSC). The ICSSC is composed of representatives from 32 federal agencies and develops uniform standards of seismic safety for federally owned, leased, assisted, and regulated buildings. The ICSSC also provides guidance to the federal agencies on the use of industry standards and codes for design and construction of federal buildings to meet the standard of life safety established for federal buildings. The ICSSC issued Standards of Seismic Safety for Federally Owned and Leased Buildings (ICSSC RP 6) in January 2002. This reflects the most recent standard for evaluation of seismic risks in existing buildings, Seismic Evaluation of Existing Buildings (ASCE 31), and the most recent guidance for rehabilitation of existing buildings, Prestandard for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings (FEMA 356). It also provides for evaluation and rehabilitation of existing buildings to a higher performance standard of immediate occupancy, where this higher performance level is needed to fulfill an agency’s mission. NIST staff serve on the Provisions Update Committee that drafts proposals for change to the NEHRP Recommended Provisions for Seismic Regulations for New Buildings and Other Structures. The ICSSC reviews and responds to ballots on changes to the NEHRP Recommended Provisions. The ICSSC further conducts comparisons of the current model building codes and standards to the NEHRP Recommended Provisions to provide the federal agencies guidance on the use of the model codes and standards. These comparisons coincide with the release by FEMA of the NEHRP Recommended Provisions. The ICSSC released recommendations for the use of the model codes and standards in 2001 and is currently conducting a code comparison study, on which new recommendations will be issued later this year. Currently the ICSSC is conducting a project to update the NEHRP Handbook for Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings. The handbook is intended to provide practical guidance to design professionals on the seismic rehabilitation of standard building types. The handbook will facilitate implementation for federal buildings when a policy decision is made to proceed. Prevention of Progressive Structural Collapse NIST has initiated a project to develop and implement performance criteria for codes and standards, tools and practical guidance for prevention of progressive structural collapse. Progressive collapse refers to the spread of a structural failure – by a chain reaction – that is disproportionate to a localized triggering failure, often due to abnormal loads. Such collapse can result in a disproportionate loss of life and injuries. The project is considering four distinct but interrelated strategies to mitigate progressive collapse: (1) system design concepts, (2) retard collapse after triggering event, (3) built-in redundancy via alternate load paths, and (4) retrofit and design to “harden” structure. A key focus of the project is to develop retrofit and design methods that take advantage of the synergies associated with mitigating progressive collapse under multiple threats (blast, impact, fire, wind, and earthquake). The project depends heavily on the development and use of advanced modeling and simulation tools to evaluate the vulnerability of structural systems to progressive collapse under different threats. The project is reviewing and using knowledge gained from controlled demolition technology and builds on that knowledge to develop effective mitigation strategies for progressive collapse. Finally, the project is developing performance criteria and methods to mitigate progressive structural collapse cost-effectively for both new and existing structures based on a combination of existing knowledge, the results of analytical model sensitivity studies, and laboratory and field measurements. NIST held a national workshop on Prevention of Progressive Collapse on July 10-12, 2002 in Chicago. Proceedings of the workshop, which include recommendations for a national plan for a problem-focused study, were published in September 2002. NIST has completed a draft of a best practices guideline for retrofit of existing buildings and plans to issue the final guideline later this year. Fire Safety Design and Retrofit of Structures NIST is using a multi-hazard approach to facilitate the development of mitigation technologies. In addition, building fires can often result following an earthquake. The objective of this project is to develop significantly improved standards, tools, and practical guidance for the fire safety design and retrofit of structures. The project is focusing on standards and tools for steel and concrete structures and on verified predictive tools and performance criteria to evaluate structural fire performance in real fires. Five key factors are being considered in developing performance-based methods: (1) While the current standard fire endurance test method, which stipulates a prescribed time-temperature exposure, is adequate to compare relative performance of structural components, it does not provide any indication about the actual performance (i.e., load carrying capacity) of a component in a real fire environment (e.g., involving fire of building contents). (2) The role of structural connections, diaphragms, and redundancy in enabling load transfer and maintaining overall structural integrity during fire is ignored in structural design. Current design methods are based on fire endurance tests of single components and do not account for the behavior of inter-component connections or the complex two- and three-dimensional behavior of the entire structure. (3) There is a need to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative retrofit, design, and fire protection strategies to enhance structural fire endurance (including alternate cementitious spray or board systems, intumescent coatings, high-performance fire protective coatings, active suppression systems, and more sensitive sensing and monitoring). No practical, high-level models exist today that couple the fire dynamics to the structural system response, and the resulting transient, multi-dimensional heat transfer through structural components made with multiple materials. (4) There is a lack of knowledge about the fire behavior of structures built with innovative materials (e.g., high-strength concrete or steel structures). (5) There is a need to better model and predict the fire hazard to structures from internal and external fires. This includes deterministic and probabilistic models for specifying the magnitude, location, and spatial distribution of fire hazards on structures; determination of reliability-based load factors for combined dead, live, and fire loads and resistance factors for loss in structural strength and stiffness; and methods for load and resistance factor design (LRFD) under fire conditions. The project will develop performance criteria and methods to assure cost-effective structural performance under fire for both retrofit and design applications based on a combination of existing knowledge from around the world, the results of analytical model sensitivity studies, and laboratory and field measurements. H.R. 2608 National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act of 2003 If H.R. 2608 is enacted, the roles and responsibilities of NIST in NEHRP will change in the following ways: (1) NIST will become the lead agency for the program. (2) The bill creates an Interagency Coordinating Committee (ICC) for NEHRP with the NIST Director as the Chair and the directors of FEMA, USGS, NSF, OSTP and OMB as the other members. It tasks the Committee with oversight, planning, management, and coordination of the program. The legislation also requires the Committee to develop and periodically update a strategic plan for the program that establishes the NEHRP goals and priorities and develop and submit to OMB a coordinated interagency budget that will ensure appropriate balance among activities. (3) The bill directs the ICC to transmit to Congress an annual report on the program at the time of the President’s budget request. The report should include the program budget for the current and upcoming fiscal years for each NEHRP agency and a description of the activities of the program during the previous year. It should also include the effectiveness of the program in furthering the goals established in the strategic plans and a description of the extent to which the program has incorporated the recommendations of the external NEHRP Advisory. (4) The bill requires the Director of NIST to establish an Advisory Committee consisting of representatives of research and academic institutions, industry, and State and local government. It tasks the Advisory Committee with assessing trends and developments in earthquake hazards reduction science and engineering and the effectiveness of the Program. The Advisory Committee must report its findings and recommendations to the Director of NIST one year after enactment, and at least once every two years thereafter. NIST believes that the proposed changes to the Interagency Coordinating Committee, adding representatives from the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget, and the formation of a Federal Advisory Committee will serve to strengthen the NEHRP program. NIST has the experience and expertise to perform the lead agency function for NEHRP Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you and the Subcommittee again for allowing me to testify today about NIST’s activities in support of NEHRP and allowing us to discuss our views on H.R. 2608. I would be happy to answer any questions at this time. Attachment A Products and Results of NIST Problem-Focused R&D Bridge Column Reinforcing Requirements Immediately following the 1971 San Fernando earthquake, NIST dispatched a team to document and investigate structural damage caused by the earthquake. In particular, many bridge columns suffered either significant damage or failure. As a result, design requirements for bridge columns in seismic zones were modified. However, the adequacy of these design modifications was not verified. NIST initiated a project in the 1980s to provide the necessary verification, consisting of two full-scale bridge column tests. The challenges arose from the size of the test specimens and the need to apply horizontal seismic loads in addition to vertical gravity loads. The series of column tests was the first of its kind and as such, provided important benchmark data. The tests also verified the adequacy of the revised design specifications. In addition, NIST tested companion 1/6-scale bridge columns and the results indicated that the behavior of full-scale bridge columns could be extrapolated from small-scale bridge column tests. This finding suggests that high costs associated with full-scale tests are not always necessary and less expensive small-scale tests may be sufficient. Welded Steel Moment Frame Connections Steel framed buildings traditionally have been considered to be among the most seismic resistant structural systems. The January 17, 1994, Northridge Earthquake, however, caused unexpected damage to many welded steel moment frame buildings. In general, the damage was confined to beam-to-column connections that suffered brittle fracture in the flange welds. In response to these failures, NIST initiated a project to study methods to modify existing buildings to improve their seismic performance, in collaboration with the American Institute of Steel Construction, the University of Texas, the University of California at San Diego, and Lehigh University. Eighteen full-scale tests were conducted on three different methods to reduce the stresses at the beam-to-column connections. The result of this multi-year effort was the publication of comprehensive guidelines for seismic rehabilitation of existing welded steel frame buildings as an AISC Design Guide. The guidelines provided experimentally-validated response prediction models and design equations for the three connection modification concepts that shift loading from the welded joints into the beams, thus enabling the structure to absorb the earthquake’s energy in a non-brittle manner. Test Methods for Structural Control Devices Structural control devices, such as seismic isolation and passive energy dissipaters, have been installed in numerous structures throughout the world and have proven to be effective in reducing both motions and forces during earthquakes and strong winds. Still these devices are generally produced in small quantities, specifically for each application. To guarantee that the devices will perform as the designer expected, many building codes and guidelines recommend that the devices be tested before installation. While some of these standards describe a limited number of specific tests, widely accepted test methods did not yet exist at the time of this project. Such standards are useful to designers, manufacturers, and contractors, since they will make the process of validating these devices consistent. To address the issue NIST has developed two sets of testing guidelines. The Guidelines for Pre-Qualification, Prototype, and Quality Control Testing of Seismic Isolation Systems was issued in 1996. ASCE has developed and is currently balloting a national consensus standard based on the NIST-developed isolation device testing guidelines. While seismic isolation is generally accepted in earthquake engineering practice and recognized in the building codes in high-seismic areas, passive structural dampers are still gaining acceptance and semi-active devices are still in the development phase. NIST has just issued Guidelines for Testing Passive Energy Dissipation Devices. S. SHYAM SUNDER Acting Deputy Director Building and Fire Research Laboratory Dr. Shyam Sunder is Acting Deputy Director of the Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). BFRL’s mission is to meet the measurements and standards needs of the building and fire safety communities by serving as the source of critical tools – metrics, models, and knowledge – used to increase productivity, facilitate trade and enhance public safety through technical innovations and improved codes, standards, and practices. New construction and renovation amount to over one trillion dollars annually – about 12 percent of U.S. GDP – and unwanted fires cost the economy over $100 billion annually. Everyone’s safety and quality of life and the productivity of all industries depend on the quality of constructed facilities. BFRL has an annual operating budget of about $39 million and its staff includes about 180 federal employees and 100 research associates and guest researchers from industry, universities, and foreign laboratories. In his current position, Dr. Sunder also: · serves as the lead investigator for the federal building and fire safety investigation into the World Trade Center disaster; · oversees NIST activities related to the National Construction Safety Team Act; · leads NIST activities related to the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP); · guides effective implementation of the NIST strategic plan within BFRL and the four BFRL goals: Homeland Security, Fire Loss Reduction, Enhanced Building Performance, and High-Performance Construction Materials and Systems; · chairs, as designated by the NIST Director, the Interagency Committee on Seismic Safety in Construction (ICSSC) – a group that recommends policies and practices to its 32 member-agencies on improving the seismic safety of federal buildings nationwide; and · serves as the U.S.-side chair of the Wind and Seismic Effects Panel established under the U.S.-Japan Cooperative Program on Natural Resources (UJNR). Dr. Sunder was chief of the Structures Division from January 1998 until June 2002 and chief of the Materials and Construction Research Division from June 2002, when the Building Materials Division was merged with the Structures Division and renamed, until March 2004. From June 1996 to December 1997, Dr. Sunder was on assignment to the Program Office, the principal staff office of the NIST Director, first as a Program Analyst and later as the Senior Program Analyst for NIST. In 1994, Dr. Sunder joined NIST’s Building Materials Division as Manager of BFRL’s newly created High-Performance Construction Materials and Systems Program and served in that position until June 1996. Prior to joining NIST, Dr. Sunder held a succession of positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) beginning in 1980: instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, principal research scientist, and senior research scientist. Dr. Sunder’s awards include the Gilbert W. Winslow Career Development Chair (1985-87) and the Doherty Professorship in Ocean Utilization (1987-89) from MIT, the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize (1991) from the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Award (1997) from NIST. Dr. Sunder holds a Bachelor of Technology (Honors) degree in civil engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (1977), a Master of Science degree in civil engineering from MIT (1979), and a Doctor of Science degree in structural engineering from MIT (1981).