Earthquakes are not predictable with current technology. However, it is possible to simulate different scenarios by making certain assumptions, such as the location of the epicenter, the type and magnitude of the eruption, and the location of a fault line with respect to buildings of a particular type. The effects of various earthquakes can be studied, and the aftermath of the simulation can be used by first responders and emergency management agencies to better prepare and plan for future disasters.
This article describes methods for visualizing large-scale, finite element simulations of ground motion based on time-varying tetrahedral meshes, and explains how such a simulated earthquake scenario can be visually combined with a simulation of the structural response. The building response is based on a simulation of single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) structural models.
The amount of data generated in these simulations is quite substantial (greater than 100 gigabytes per scenario). Real-time, interactive visualization and navigation in a 3-D virtual environment is still challenging. For the building simulation, a number of structural prototypes that represent a typical urban building infrastructure is selected. For the ground motion simulation, an efficient, topology-sensitive tetrahedral mesh decimation algorithm suitable for time-varying grids and based on a feature-preserving quadric error metric is used. The algorithms presented in this chapter have the potential for being applied to other scienctific domains where time-varying, tetrahedral meshes are used.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/thomas_wischgoll/84/