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Faculty Experts

UH Offers Experts on Hurricanes

UH Offers Experts on Hurricanes

Representing experts across various fields, University of Houston sources have expertise in an array of topics related to storms – before, during and after.

Lisa Merkl
lkmerkl@uh.edu
713-743-8192

All Shook Up: UH Offers Experts on Earthquakes

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April 9, 2010-Houston-

In the past year, more and more large-scale earthquakes seem to be hitting, causing much devastation and unrest.  As you seek experts surrounding this topic, keep in mind these resources from the University of Houston.  For more information, or if you are unable to reach a professor, contact Lisa Merkl at 713-743-8192 or Travis Coggin at 713-743-4162.    

ONE-OF-A-KIND MACHINE AT UH TESTS CONCRETE PANELS

Thomas Hsu, the John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Civil Engineering at UH, is an expert at testing the strength of reinforced concrete under earthquake-like conditions.  His research uses a large machine housed at UH that stands more than 15-feet tall at two stories, weighs nearly 40 tons and contains more than a mile of pipes to transport oil pressure to its 40 jacks.  Each jack is capable of applying 100 tons of force to test the strength of element panels of steel-reinforced concrete.  The data from this machine can be integrated by computer techniques to predict the behavior of whole structures constructed from reinforced concrete panel elements when threatened by earthquakes.  Contact Hsu at thsu@uh.edu or 713-743-4268. 

WHAT IT TAKES TO REBUILD A CITY FOLLOWING AN EARTHQUAKE

Yi-Lung Mo, a professor in the civil and environmental engineering department at UH, is director of the Thomas T. C. Hsu Structural Research Laboratory at UH.  Formerly the head of the fundamental research division at the National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering in Taipei, Taiwan, Mo can discuss what it takes to rebuild a city following a massive earthquake, as well as the continuing research he performs currently at UH.  Contact Mo at ymo@uh.edu or 713-743-4274. 

GEOLOGICAL FAULTS THREATEN HOUSTON

While the ground moving beneath Houstonians feet is not felt at the magnitude of recent earthquakes, this shaky ground could mean trouble for buildings, roads and pipelines located on one of these hundreds of faults traversing the region's surface.  Shuhab Khan, assistant professor of geology at UH, has found more than 300 surface faults in Harris County, providing information that could be vitally useful to the region's builders and city planners.  He uses advanced radar-like laser technology that produced a comprehensive map pinpointing the locations of the faults.  Khan is now studying Fort Bend County with these methods, already finding one potential fault near the Brazos River levee.  Contact Khan at sdkhan@uh.edu or 713-743-3411. 

DO'S AND DON'TS OF DISASTER RELIEF

Tom DeGregori, a professor of economics at UH, deals extensively with our capability for anticipating and countering famine, disease and other natural disasters. He specializes in humanitarian aid and has analyzed the economic impacts of natural disasters for decades. Reach him at trdegreg@uh.edu or 713-743-3838.

SURVIVORS STRUGGLING WITH POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS

Patrick Bordnick, an associate professor at the UH Graduate College of Social Work, runs a lab equipped with a "virtual worlds" simulator used to treat victims of natural disasters suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The Virtual Reality Clinical Research Lab was originally established in 2002 under the direction of Bordnick to serve as a testing ground for the development of virtual reality applications for addictions and mental health disorders. Reach him at bordnick@uh.edu or 713-743-2086.

READING BETWEEN THE FAULT LINES

Michael Murphy, associate professor of structural geology, is dedicated to understanding the core of tectonics and structural geology. By utilizing an array of data, Murphy is able to examine the domino effect produced by shifting tectonic plates and leverage his findings to predict events such as the recent April 4 Baja earthquake. Reach him at mmurphy@mail.uh.edu or 713-743-3413.

FORCES OF NATURE: TECTONIC PLATES

Powered by forces originating in Earth's inner core, tectonic plates inch along their journeys around the surface of the Earth, moving no faster than human fingernails grow.  UH tectonics professors study these plates and other shifts that lead to earthquakes, such as the recent quakes in China and Haiti.  To learn more about tectonics, contact professors Kevin Burke at kburke@uh.edu, John Casey at jfcasey@uh.edu or John Dewey at jfdewey@uh.edu.  

ON A RELATED NOTE ...

Jonathan Snow, UH's resident volcanologist, can talk about any topics related to Earth's mantle and can offer insight regarding the recent eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano.  Snow has been studying the volcanoes at the top of Earth since he was a graduate student, having pulled some of the oldest rocks on the planet from the sea floor near Iceland.  He can discuss why the recent Icelandic volcano erupted, how long it might last and whether the climate and animals will be affected.  Reach him at jesnow@uh.edu or 713-743- 5312. 


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