Q&A: What are some major seismic design challenges in the Middle East?

As with most regions of the world, the challenge to evaluating seismic hazards is proper quantification of seismicity of the region of interest. Because of the Middle East’s tremendous size, spanning from Western India to North Africa and Turkey and Central Asia to the Southern Arabian Peninsula, it encompasses a region of very different seismic environments. Not only is the seismicity in the region tremendously varied from the highly seismic region of Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran to low seismicity in the Southern Gulf region, but the cultural and language barriers provide unique challenges for projects in the region.

Langan provided seismic hazard assessments for the structures at Basrah Sports City in Iraq.

Langan provided seismic hazard assessments for the structures at Basrah Sports City in Iraq.
(Rendering courtesy of HOK)

With the high rate of signature developments in the Middle East and the prevalence of Performance-Based Design, appropriately quantified site-specific seismic criteria is imperative for effective and efficient design. Proper quantification of seismic load demands on structures provides the best value engineering that Langan can provide. As such, understanding of the geology and seismic histories of the particular region of interest is critical in seismic evaluations. Another equally important factor is quality, quantity, and appropriateness of locally developed subsurface information used in the development of site-specific seismic design criteria. It is critical to provide seismic recommendations that properly evaluate geologic, geotechnical, and seismologic conditions, that are appropriate, and not overly conservative.

Langan completed a geotechnical earthquake engineering study for Abu Dhabi Media Zone.

Langan completed a geotechnical earthquake engineering study for Abu Dhabi Media Zone.

 

About Ramin Golesorkhi, PhD, PE, GE
Dr. Golesorkhi, with over 28 years of experience in international seismic analysis and foundation engineering, is the director of seismic engineering services at Langan. He has developed seismic and geotechnical design criteria appropriate for industrial, residential, private and government office buildings, hospitals and healthcare facilities, bridges, elevated freeways and viaducts, structures with energy dissipation systems such as base-isolators and dampers, tunnels, and seismic strengthening of existing structures.

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