Earthquake papers A review of the performance of two large sub-stations and eight large dams during the Chi Chi, Taiwan earthquake
Robin Charlwood, T.E. Little, J.K. Lou
ICLR Research Paper Series - No. 6
Soon after 1:00 a.m. local time on September 21, 1999, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck Taiwan, the strongest earthquake to hit Taiwan during the 20th century. More than 2,200 people were killed as a result of the earthquake, known as the Chi-Chi Earthquake, and more than 8,000 people were injured. In addition to the thousands of buildings that were damaged, reports indicated an extensive loss of electrical power due to damage to a large substation and other electrical facilities and the “failure” of a concrete dam. The substation damage showed the vulnerability of an electrical grid to earthquakes and the dam failure would have been the first time a concrete dam had failed anywhere in the world as a result of an earthquake. In addition, several other large concrete and embankment dams were affected.
We were fortunate in being able to go to Taiwan in November to observe the residual effects of the earthquake on the central substation at Chungliao, eight dams and the Mingtan substation and underground powerhouse. Staff from the Taiwan Water Conservation Agency and Taiwan Power briefed us and escorted us to eight dams, including the damaged Shih Kang concrete dam. It was a prime opportunity to assess the actual situation at the substation, place this particular dam failure into perspective, and to observe the successful performance of several other dams.