The 2014 South Napa earthquake and its relevance for New Zealand

Abstract

The South Napa earthquake occurred on Sunday, 24 August 2014 at 3.20 am local time at a depth of 10.7 km, having MW 6.0 and causing significant damage to unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings in the City of Napa and generating strong ground shaking in a region well known for its wine production. Parallels exist between the damage in past New Zealand earthquakes, particularly to unreinforced masonry buildings, and the disruption in the Marlborough region following the recent 2013 MW 6.5 Seddon earthquake. Furthermore, the event was the largest to have occurred in Northern California since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake 25 years earlier, and hence was an important event for the local community of earthquake researchers and professionals regarding the use of a physical and virtual clearinghouse for data archiving of damage observations. Because numerous URM buildings in the City of Napa had been retrofitted, there was significant interest regarding the observed performance of different retrofitting methods.

Following a brief overview of the earthquake affected area and previous earthquakes to have caused damage in the Napa Valley region, details are provided regarding the characteristics of the 2014 South Napa earthquake, the response to the earthquake including placarding procedures and barricading, and more specific details of observed building and non-structural damage. Aspects of business continuity following the South Napa earthquake are also considered. One conclusion is that in general the seismic retrofitting of URM buildings in the Napa region proved to be very successful, and provides an important benchmark as New Zealand begins to more actively undertake seismic assessment and retrofitting of its earthquake prone building stock. It is also concluded that there are sufficient similarities between New Zealand and California, and a rich network of contacts that has developed following the hosting of many US visitors to New Zealand in conjunction with the 2010/2011 Canterbury earthquakes, that it is sensible for the New Zealand earthquake engineering community to maintain a close focus on ongoing earthquake preparedness and mitigation methods used and being developed in USA, and particularly in California.

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Published
2015-03-31
How to Cite
Galloway, B., & Ingham, J. M. (2015). The 2014 South Napa earthquake and its relevance for New Zealand. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 48(1), 1-30. https://doi.org/10.5459/bnzsee.48.1.1-30
Section
Articles

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