U.K. Quake Expert Heads To China

LEXINGTON, KY -- A University of Kentucky researcher will travel to China on Monday to study seismic hazards and structural damage caused by an earthquake that struck last month and left thousands dead, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Sunday edition.

Zhenming Wang, who heads the Kentucky Geological Survey's Geological Hazards Section at UK, said both China and Kentucky can learn from the disaster.

He said researchers need to understand the science behind hazard estimates and develop appropriate building codes and design practices. But "without a firsthand observation, it's difficult to say anything about it," Wang tolld the newspaper.

That's why he'll spend about three weeks in the Sichuan province area.

"This earthquake demonstrated the clear need for stronger codes and building design in the area where so much damage occurred," Wang said.

The invitation was the result of a three-year research relationship between UK and China's Lanzhou Institute of Seismology in the Gansu province, reports the Herald-Leader.

About 70,000 people, including 365 in the Gansu, died after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake May 12 in Sichuan and surrounding provinces.

"UK researchers were in the area of the recent earthquake as recently as November 2007, so we have a special empathy for the people affected by this recent disaster," Kentucky Geological Survey director Jim Cobb said in a news release, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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