Armenian News Network / Groong


Conversation on Groong: Earthquake Readiness in Armenia



February 21, 2021


     Armen Der Kiureghian


     Asbed Bedrossian



Hello and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, In this Conversations on Groong episode, we’ll be talking about the earthquake readiness in Armenia after the recent shake near Yerevan.


This episode was recorded on Friday, February 19, 2021.


Earthquake Readiness in Armenia


On Saturday February 13 a magnitude 4.7 earthquake hit Armenia 8 kilometers southeast of Yerevan. No deaths or serious injuries were reported. We’re all thankful for that of course, but the 1988 earthquake will always have us asking questions about safety and preparedness.



We have with us:



Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, who is a structural and civil engineering professor at UC Berkeley with research focus on earthquake engineering. He is a co-founder and was president of the American University of Armenia from 2014 until 2019.



According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations Seismic Protection Service chief, Sos Margaryan, this earthquake was on the Yerevan fault line. What do we know about this fault line or the region in general?

Have building & construction codes and standards improved since the big one in 1988? What’s the best way to meet modern, Western standards?

How well contractors comply with regulatory requirements, and what consequences apply for non-compliance?

Is Armenia ready for “the big one?”



Is there a government department, for example the ministry of emergency situations, or whoever, that leads the country in disaster preparedness, and performs routine drills?

Does the Armenian government have something similar to California’s “The Great Shakeout” annual statewide drill? Do they practice “duck, cover & hold” and other readiness efforts? Do they maintain first response necessities and practices up to date with annual drills?

Are there questions that we should be asking, and are there conversations that are not happening that really should be happening?



      4.7 magnitude earthquake hits Armenia

      More than 110 aftershocks recorded in Armenia after February 13 earthquake

      Seismologist rules out “biological weapon” hypotheses behind Yerevan earthquake

      Magnitude 2,0 earthquake recorded near Yerevan




That concludes this Conversations on Groong episode. We hope it was helpful in your understanding of some of the issues involved. We look forward to your feedback, including your suggestions for Conversation topics in the future. Contact us on our website, at, or on our Facebook PageANN - Groong”, or in our Facebook Group “Groong - Armenian News Network.


Special thanks to Laura Osborn for providing the music for our podcast. On behalf of everyone in this episode, we wish you a good week. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channels, Like our pages and follow us on social media. Thank you for listening and we’ll talk to you soon.



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Armen Der Kiureghian, AUA, Armenia, Yerevan, Earthquake, Yerevan Fault, Fault line, Series 11, Earthquake Preparedness, The Great Shakeout, California, Soviet buildings, Retrofitting