Hanging by a thread? Lifelines, infrastructure and natural disasters
The 19th New Zealand Geomechanics Symposium was held in Queenstown on 21 and 22 November 2013.
In recent memory our planet has suffered tragic loss of life and collateral damage due to the occurrence of natural disasters. Many types of natural disasters, in particular earthquakes, are of direct relevance to the geotechnical and engineering geology community in New Zealand due to their relatively high rate of occurrence and potentially disastrous human, social and economic impact.
The recent Canterbury earthquake sequence has had an unprecedented impact on the geotechnical profession in New Zealand. It has raised the profile of our science through all levels of society, from home owners to our nation’s leaders, and, has been the catalyst for a surge of invaluable observations, data and learning. It has also been a reminder to all nations as to the terrible social and economic damage which a relatively moderate but unfavourably located seismic event can inflict.
It was with the above issues in mind that the organising committee selected the subject for this Symposium:
“Hanging by a thread? Lifelines, infrastructure and natural disasters”.
It is the sincere hope of the Symposium organising committee that the proceedings
of this conference will sssist future generations improve the planning, design and construction of urban areas and infrastructure, Help reduce adverse effects of major disasters on society, and, expedite the short-term emergency response and long-term recovery process following future natural disasters.
At the start of day one, Professor Harry Poulos is scheduled to present a keynote address entitled “Practical approaches to seismic design of deep foundations” and at the start of day two, Dr Lelio Mejia will present his keynote address entitled “Analysis and design of embankment dams for foundation fault rupture”. Both of these lectures have strong alignment and compatibility with the Symposium theme. The Symposium organising committee is extremely grateful that both of these world-renowned experts accepted the offer to speak at this Symposium and share some of their wisdom first-hand with the New Zealand geotechnical fraternity.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge the financial support which was afforded by the Symposium sponsors, and, the effort which was made by the Symposium organising committee. This event would not have occurred without each and every one of these organisations and individuals.