Steel structures damage from the Christchurch earthquake series of 2010 and 2011

  • Charles Clifton University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Michel Bruneau University at Buffalo, Buffalo, US
  • Greg MacRae University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Roberto Leon Georgia Tech, Atlanta, USA
  • Alistair Fussell Steel Construction New Zealand, Manukau City, New Zealand


This paper presents preliminary field observations on the performance of selected steel structures in Christchurch during the earthquake series of 2010 to 2011. This comprises 6 damaging earthquakes, on 4 September and 26 December 2010, February 22, June 6 and two on June 13, 2011. Most notable of these was the 4 September event, at Ms7.1 and MM7 (MM as observed in the Christchurch CBD) and most intense was the 22 February event at Ms6.3 and MM9-10 within the CBD. Focus is on performance of concentrically braced frames, eccentrically braced frames, moment resisting frames and industrial storage racks. With a few notable exceptions, steel structures performed well during this earthquake series, to the extent that inelastic deformations were less than what would have been expected given the severity of the recorded strong motions. Some hypotheses are formulated to explain this satisfactory performance.


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How to Cite
Clifton, C., Bruneau, M., MacRae, G., Leon, R., & Fussell, A. (2011). Steel structures damage from the Christchurch earthquake series of 2010 and 2011. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 44(4), 297-318.

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