Jeffrey Dragovich, a research structural engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has been deployed to Chile as a member of a large multidisciplinary team of experts documenting the effects of the Feb. 27, 2010, earthquake in that country. The Chilean quake measured 8.8 on the Richter scale, equivalent to a force of 16 million kilotons of TNT, making it one of the most powerful earthquakes of the last 100 years.
The team on which Dragovich is deployed comes under the auspices of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) program. LFE is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of its contribution to the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), the federal government's coordinated long-term nationwide program to reduce risks to life and property that result from earthquakes in the United States. NIST is the lead NEHRP agency, partnering with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NSF and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Engineers and scientists from FEMA and USGS are deployed with Dragovich. The NEHRP agency personnel join approximately 30 other earthquake professionals on the EERI team examining and evaluating the seismic performance of engineered structures in the earthquake region, as well as the impact of the quake-induced tsunami on structures. The team will return from Chile on March 21, 2010.