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Permanently Instrumented Field Sites

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Permanently Instrumented Field Sites for Study of Soil-Foundation-Structure Interaction  (Brigham Young University)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Wildlife Liquefaction Array and the Garner Valley Array are managed by the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in cooperation with Brigham Young University and the University of Southern California as a part of the George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). The sites were made possible by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

NEES is the centerpiece of NSF’s ongoing priority to understand earthquakes and prevent or mitigate the damage they cause. Opened for operations on Oct. 1, 2004, NEES is a network of sites available for experimentation on-site, in the field, and through remote operations. The network helps researchers understand how earthquake and tsunami forces affect ground motion and soil liquefaction as well as the built environment—buildings, bridges, utility systems—and near-shore and coastal environments. The NEES networking cyberinfrastructure connects equipment sites and provides a tele-presence, a curated central data repository, simulation tools and collaborative tools for facilitating on-line planning, execution and post-processing of experiments.

To conduct research where structures already exist - or to test the soil where future building may be planned - researchers must conduct experiments outside of the traditional laboratory, or “in situ” (a Latin term meaning “in the original place”). The Garner Valley Array and Wildlife Liquefaction Array field laboratories make it possible to test on-site and relay the data directly from the field.

Education & Outreach

UCSB's NEES facility is committed to providing educational opportunities for students of every age and their teachers and welcomes anyone interested in visiting the field laboratories or UCSB. Outreach activities have included Science Nights at a local elementary school, visits to the Garner Valley Array by undergraduate students, science fairs, and more.

The NEES Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program is a dynamic 10-week summer research program for upper division undergraduate students interested in Civil Engineering, Computer Science/Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and other fields related to seismic risk mitigation testing. REU participants are paired with a faculty advisor, join a NEES research team, and participate in enrichment activities including attending the NEES Annual Meeting and the Young Researchers’ Symposium. Mentors, including university faculty, researchers, and graduate students, provide support and guidance to interns. Students are taught how to conduct independent research and how to participate effectively as a member of a research team.

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  • Image from the NSF-funded Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation.
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