Taiwan Earthquake Reconnaissance, Day 2

Posted by Kevin Moore on February 18, 2016
taiwan earthquake

The SGH Team gathered for breakfast at the Far Eastern Plaza Hotel in Tainan (a wonderful hotel with great service, beautiful rooms, and an outstanding breakfast buffet). In planning our second day of reconnaissance, we recognized an opportunity unique to Tainan. Governmental buildings are often similar in design and construction. To that end, we determined that we could observe behavior of four similar buildings throughout the region, with the hope of comparisons related to behavior and shaking intensity. With this in mind, we set out for the Shanshang district.

The Shanshang District Office was damaged substantially more than the Guerian District Office observed on Day 1. The damaged observed at the other two District Offices in Zuojhen and Nanhana was also more substantial than the retrofit building observed on Day 1. Each building showed weak story behavior at the first story, with cracking in masonry walls and reinforced concrete columns. Nonstructural damage was also more evident in these buildings. All the District Offices observed on Day 2 were being evacuated in preparation for demolition.

In addition to District Offices, we observed many residential structures, most appear to have similar basic construction: two to three stories of reinforced concrete with masonry infill or full masonry interior wall construction with some exterior reinforced concrete elements. A few of these residential buildings have localized damage and some buildings with system level irregularities collapsed. We were surprised to find one building under repair where damaged brick walls were being reconstructed with new unreinforced brick walls, destined to crumble again in a future earthquake.


Our last stop of the day was in the small Yujing district. The Tainan District Junior High School here presented some interesting juxtaposition of behavior and evolution of construction. One of the original buildings on campus was built in 1999. This building exhibited significant damage at the first level, primarily in columns and an exterior wall with an architectural opening. As with most observed reinforced concrete construction, the column reinforcing appeared to have inadequate ductile details (short hooks on ties, short lap splices), with internal voids created by presence of conduit or other materials.

After our long day at far flung locales (we spent more than three hours on the road to get to some of these areas), we enjoyed a wonderful meal at a local family restaurant recommended by Po-Chien. We are very appreciative of having Po-Chien help us tour the area. He has been instrumental in helping us gain access to buildings and has done a magnificent job in gathering information from the people that survived the earthquake and have unique knowledge about the observed buildings. He even procured video from security cameras at two of the District Office buildings for our use in evaluating shaking at these locations

Related Links:

Day 3

National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering

National Cheng Kung University

Earthquake Engineering Research Institute

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