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Mexico City Earthquake Investigation

Lauren Benstead's Mexico City Earthquake Investigation 


ARCE student Lauren Benstead is traveling to Mexico City to perform ambient vibration testing of various buildings from January 26 - 31, 2018. There she will examine the dynamic response structures that have sustained the recent 7.1 earthquake. Stay tuned for her personal accounts of the research experience.

Lauren’s story began in early January 2017 when assistant professor Anahid Behrouzi and collaborating National Science Foundation (NSF) RAPID grant team members decided to embark on additional structural testing to follow up on reconnaissance work conducted in late October 2017 (see Rachel Chandler’s blog posts for the details here).

With word that the NSF grant had received formal approval, Dr. Behrouzi notified other ARCE faculty colleagues whose expertise is in ambient and forced vibration of structures (Drs. Graham Archer, Peter Laursen, and Cole McDaniel). They recommended Lauren as a rising star on their team and suggested she be paired with Cal Poly alum William “Willy” Rosenblatt currently working as a forensic engineer at Wiss, Janney, Elstner in Chicago.

The last few weeks have involved countless hours of preparation by Lauren working with Dr. Laursen to gather, test, and pack the necessary sensor and data acquisition equipment. This week Lauren is poised to join teams from Purdue University, University at Buffalo, and University of Nebraska – Lincoln to collect data that will help researchers better understand the dynamic properties of structures in Mexico city in various states of damage as well as with and without previous retrofitting.

Below are her accounts of the process including her observations of her research and cultural experiences while in Mexico.


Day 1: Welcome from Mexico City!

Day 2: Training Day


We'd like to give a huge shout-out to everyone at Cal Poly. Thank you International Studies Office (Cari Vanderkar Moore and Azucena Perez) and Cal Poly Grants Office (Trish Brock and Susanne Gartner), as well as Al Estes, Mark Cabrinha, Erika Clements, Adriana Sousa for your help!

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