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Press Release

ABS Consulting Structural Engineer Studies Impact of New Zealand Earthquake

April 21, 2011

(Houston) Dr. Nathan Gould, Chief of Technology for the ABS Consulting Extreme Loads and Structural Risk division, joined a multi-disciplinary research team documenting the effects of the February 22, 2011, earthquake that struck the City of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Led by the US-based Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), Gould and the team focused on how engineered structures withstood the 6.3 magnitude earthquake. They also studied non-structural building components and geotechnical issues, such as liquefaction which was widespread over the impacted area.

The US scientific and engineering community sought to study the Christchurch quake because even though it was technically an aftershock of the earthquake that occurred in the same region back in September 2010, the February event had a substantially greater impact to the built environment in Christchurch, Gould said. Although smaller in magnitude than the September event, the February event produced large horizontal and vertical accelerations in Christchurch, causing significantly more loss of life and damage to the infrastructure and economy.

"Several of us spent the first few days on site assisting the City of Christchurch with their building evaluations. In particular, we volunteered to help in inspecting and 'tagging' damaged structures as the city did not have enough structural engineers available," said Gould.

The EERI's Learning from Earthquakes Program has sent reconnaissance teams to investigate hundreds of damaging earthquakes over the past 40 years, said Gould.

The final report of the study will be released next month.

A practicing structural engineer with more than 19 years experience in the design, construction and rehabilitation of major structures throughout the US, Gould is also active in the utilization of performance-based seismic design criteria and methodology in the design of new buildings and equipment. He is also the general manager of ABS Consulting's office in St. Louis, MO.

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About ABS Group

ABS Group of Companies, Inc. (, through its operating subsidiaries, provides data-driven risk and reliability solutions and technical services that help clients confirm the safety, integrity, quality and efficiency of critical assets and operations. Headquartered in Spring, Texas, ABS Group operates with more than 1,000 professionals in over 20 countries serving the marine and offshore, oil, gas and chemical, government and industrial sectors. ABS Group is a subsidiary of ABS, one of the world's leading marine and offshore classification societies.

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