Earthquake workshop explores technologies to enhance disaster resilience

11/8/2023 Olivia Grubisich

Written by Olivia Grubisich

By Olivia Grubisich

Tugce Baser
Oscar Lopez-Pamies

Earthquake experts from around the globe came together for the advanced research workshop “Emerging and Disruptive Technologies to Enhance Disaster Resilience,” presented at Cukurova University in Turkey Oct. 23-24, 2023. Organized by CEE assistant professor Tugce Baser, the event was arranged in response to the Kahramamaras earthquake sequence and cascading hazards that struck southern Turkey in February 2023.

The workshop was supported by NATO’s Science for Peace and Security program. Throughout the two days of programming, attendees participated in lectures, panels and break-out sessions focused on defining challenges and possible research initiatives related to characterization of large ground deformations. These sessions brought together speakers and researchers with expertise in areas including geosciences, civil engineering, remote sensing, artificial intelligence and disaster response. Keynote speakers included Lt. Corey J. McGlynn of the U.S. Air Force Base in Adana, Turkey and Maria Blees of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, who shared their experiences with damage assessment and recovery efforts following the earthquake.

The Kahramamaras earthquake sequence inspired the workshop’s organization, but the ideas and issues discussed go beyond the problem of earthquakes. Researchers attending the event addressed the increasing frequency and severity of hazardous events and cascading hazards around the globe. The workshop aimed to identify opportunities for the utilization of technologies like AI, remote sensing and quantum technologies to detect large ground deformations related to natural disasters and mitigate the impacts these events have on vulnerable people, communities and infrastructure.

One of Baser’s biggest takeaways from the conference was the success of interdisciplinary breakout sessions that allowed experts from different research areas to learn from one another and exchange ideas about courses of action. Tangible outcomes from the workshop include an internal report to be submitted to NATO, a booklet to be distributed among NATO officers, and a book co-edited by Baser to be included as part of the NATO Science Series. 

Events like these also open the door for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to partake in future collaborative opportunities, like the reconnaissance effort to Turkey led by Baser earlier this year, who is from an area directly impacted by the earthquakes. Baser presented the reconnaissance team’s findings as part of the CEE faculty webinar series.

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This story was published November 8, 2023.