Earthquake Prep in Helena Mt

Earthquakes in Helena Montana |
Capella University PS 3200 |
Bryan Beniger |
3/15/2012 |

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the preparations that have been made for a large scale earthquake in Helena, Montana. Helena is the capital of the state of Montana and a large scale earthquake would have an effect on the entire state. With the state Government being housed in the community a large earthquake could severely hinder the operations of Emergency Management at the state level.   This paper will present the history of the last major quake that struck Helena, the preparations that have been made, and the future outlook for further steps needed to be taken to protect the community.
Helena sits in a pretty seismically active area in western Montana. In October 1935 Helena started experiencing small tremors. The first of these occurred on October 3rd Montana suffered through a series of nearly a hundred earthquake shocks in the month of October 1935. Helena experienced three damaging earthquakes on the 12th, 18th, and 31st of the month.   Prior to October 1935 there was a sense of immunity from natural disasters in Helena this contributed to an atmosphere of uncontrolled construction earthquake hazards and earthquake resistant design and construction were greatly disregarded. Antiquated construction in Helena behaved predictably during the tremors and offered few new lessons to structural engineers. Damage was a repetition from information learned from previous shocks from around the country. Chimneys collapsed, parapets fell, walls parallel to interior framing collapsed, and partial or total collapse of these structures was the ultimate end. Most buildings with unreinforced masonry bearing walls were severely damaged within the month long barrage of seismic activity. Industrial smoke stacks built almost entirely of brick fell down. Public records from the time indicate that prior to October 1935 impartial appraisal of many of the older...