Final Reports
  School Map
  Discussion Forum
  Technical Guide
  Past Participant
Supercomputing Challenge


Team: 54


Area of Science: seismology

Interim: Problem Definition: The goal of this project is to create a computer model which incorporates the type and magnitude of the shock waves, the bedrock, and building structural integrity in order to predict the structural damage and the economic impact an earthquake would cause. We will use information from a site that has already been examined for the faults nearby, bedrock, and past earthquake damage. This model will analyze the structure of three building heights: tall (more than ten stories), medium (between ten and three stories), and small (less than three stories). Problem Solution: By incorporating the bedrock in our locale, the magnitude of the earthquake, and its intensity ratings, we will model its effect on different building structures. Several different intensities of earthquakes will be tested and their effect on the structures will be recorded. The received data will be calibrated with previous earthquake data from the area. After the calibration, we will make any necessary adjustments to our program’s code. Our technical strategy is to gather data, mainly from the internet, pertaining to the geographical sites chosen. Next we will write a program pertaining to a certain area of land, in three different geologically active sites. In different trials there will be different ratios of tall, medium and short buildings. The resulting structural damage will be measured, and from this data the economic data will be computed. Each building will be assigned a monetary value; if the building is completely destroyed we will use this value to compute the economic damage, and if the building is damaged, the cost of repair will be considered. After the model is completed, it will be run several times using the circumstances involved in a historical earthquake in order to calibrate the model. Progress to Date: We have found two mentors, Charlotte Rowe and Emily Schultz; both have at least a masters degree in geology and are geologists at LANL. We are currently researching earthquakes and the surrounding area in several geologically active areas around the world, including California, Washington, Japan and Mexico. We are using MatLab as our programming language. Expected Results: This program will predict the structural and economic damage earthquakes cause. It will provide an easy way to include the numerous variables of wave magnitude and bedrock composition. It will also provide an estimate of the damage an earthquake could cause in areas where cities may be planning to expand. References: Earthquake Intensity. “The Modified Mercalli Scale of Earthquake Intensity.” 11/21/2006. . Harris, Stephen L. Agents of Chaos. Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula, 1990. Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale. 11/21/2006. . Press, Frank and Raymond Siever. Understanding Earth. W.H. Freeman and Company, New York, 2001. Southern California Earthquake Center. “Earthquake Shaking-Accounting for Side Effects.” 11/21/2006. .

Team Members:

  Emily Powell
  Kelsy Dotson

Sponsoring Teacher: Diane Medford

Mail the entire Team