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Recognizing the impacts earthquakes may have on the Pacific Northwest, Reid Middleton had the opportunity to participate with the Structural Engineers Association of Washington SEAW reconnaissance team of engineers to observe and evaluate damage in the affected areas. As part of our ongoing series on earthquake reconnaissance and education, the Reid Middleton team wanted to share some notes from our reconnaissance trip to Chile following the February, earthquake.

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The report is below. The Earthquake Reconnaissance Team On….


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Earthquakes -- Chile -- History -- 21st century. Tsunamis -- Chile -- History -- 21st century. Electronic books. Added Author:.

Edge, Billy L. Added Corporate Author:. ProQuest Firm. They regained a lot of lost ground.

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Before the quake, that "lost ground" had been steadily eaten away by a combination of natural and human influences. As thermal expansion and glacial melt -- both products of global climate change -- push sea levels steadily higher, coastlines are shifting inland. Yet in many places, that shift has been arrested by man-made sea walls, vast projects meant to protect the trillions of dollars of infrastructure that perch on the edge of the world's oceans.

Sea walls are often constructed at high-tide lines, and although they may protect the infrastructure behind them, they actually exacerbate the erosion of the beach in front of them, said Jaramillo, of Universidad Austral de Chile.


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  • How sea walls accelerate erosion "When you build a sea wall close to high tide, the water actually hits it and bounces off with more force" than if the tide had been allowed to go out naturally, he said. Beaches lose more sand to erosion when they have sea walls than when they're allowed to move naturally, he added.

    Chile Quake at Epicenter of Expanding Disaster and Failure Data Repository | NIST

    For the plants and animals that inhabit beaches, that means a precipitous loss of habitat. Along much of the Chilean coast, species have abandoned beaches hemmed in by closing walls of water and concrete. But in those places where the quake lifted new ground, life quickly returned.