UT’s Ghannoum, Rathje help in Haiti
“When the earthquake occurred, our organization decided to send a team,” Rathje said. “I was the leader, and I put the team together.”
A veteran of visiting disaster sites, Rathje said the intensity of the Haiti quake was comparable to that of the 1995 earthquake in Turkey. While Turkey sustained damage during the ’95 quake, the damage in Haiti was much more widespread and extended over a larger area, so it affected more people, she said.
As a geotechnical engineer who studies soil, Rathje and her team traveled to Haiti to look at the damage induced by the earthquake. Since such conditions can be difficult to replicate in a lab, visiting actual damage sites proves to be a valuable learning opportunity.
“You can think of each earthquake as a living lab where you can learn lessons,” Rathje said. “Anytime we can go look at the actual geological response to an earthquake is valuable learning.”
This time, Rathje and her team studied how and why soil characteristics might have influenced the intense damage at the port.