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Lehigh tsunami research featured on Discovery Channel

Discover Channel
Watch the Discovery Channel video, "Cargo Crate Testing"

In late January, the Discovery Channel aired an episode of its show Daily Planet, covering the work of associate professor Clay Naito’s work in understanding the impact of tsunami-borne debris on the built infrastructure.

Naito and colleagues from the University of Hawaii and Oregon State are developing a model they hope will provide justification for a new tsunami chapter being added to the national code – ASCE 7 – that specifies the loads structures must be designed to handle.

To test the forces involved in debris impact, the Lehigh team hoisted a standard, 3.5-ton, 20-foot intermodal shipping container on 30-foot cables. Fully loaded, one container can weigh 53,000 pounds, more than enough to severely damage a structure. The 40- and 50-foot waves of the March 2011 Tohoku tsunami tossed thousands of these containers like sticks at Japanese ports.

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Dan Frangopol

Associate professor Clay Naito at work at the ATLSS Engineering Center on the Mountaintop Campus at Lehigh University.