Rock Bottom Geology 101


one for the ages.

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      • Or a Minneapolis bridgge, or Washington Dulles airport, in which case it would be an example of Americas crumbling infrastructure. Chavez and his followers can dish it out but they can’t take it!

          • How about collapsing bridges? The maiquetia ‘incident’ is just embarrassing. It is perhaps just a broken pipe, or it is perhaps the symptom of a bigger problem. Sewers carry no pressure. Usually the broken pipes are fresh water pipes, fyi. I would be very worried if a sewer pipe broke as they are only drainage.

            I wonder how long did it take to fix.

          • Yes, it’s hard to say. The same could easily be said for a bridge, you don’t know whether the bridge collapsed because it was a rusted and carrying too much weight (Maiquetia) or because contractors put the incorrect thickness plate in (Minneapolis). My point was people like Shame and his idol Chavez can dish out the insults, but when they are thrown their way they get all whiny. It’s pathetic.

          • Somebody does not understand what collapse the Viaducto 1, here is a hint there is no maintenance possible on an arc bridge between two shifting bases due to plate tectonics.

            It was a shitty bridge by none other than MPJ, the only problem was not having built a second REAL bridge before the collapse.

          • Lets not confuse a seismic retrofit with maintenance. Both are possible. Neither was done.

            Maintenance is basic things like analyzing the structure for deficiencies, removing corrosion, reapplying anti-corrosive paints, ensuring the welds/structural connectors are in order, replacing cabling, and other fun stuff. Its preventative in nature and is largely there to keep the structure going while making sure that minor faults do not become major ones and warning when major ones occur.

            If this had been done, even months prior, they would have been largely aware of a future breakdown of the bridge.

            Wear and tear due to seismology is pretty common, and while newer bridges are largely constructed with this in mind, older bridges of all types (along with buildings and other structures) get a retrofit to bring them in line with seismic conditions in the area. Its commonly done and pretty simple work for engineers to come up with a plan. They’ve been doing it for so long, its almost cookie-cutter. The retrofit typically comes after recommendations by engineers who have been overseeing the maintenance of the bridges.

            I live in a seismically active area and they’ve pretty much gone through every bridge over the past 20 years in a 300 mile radius. Same goes for California, where this has been actively done since the 70’s. Is it expensive? Sure. But it is typically much less expensive than replacing the bridge after it collapses in most cases…and that’s not even factoring in external costs like increased transportation costs/transit times, lost productivity, etc.

            Neither was done to the viaducto. Why?

          • “Wear and tear due to seismology is pretty common, and while newer bridges are largely constructed with this in mind, older bridges of all types (along with buildings and other structures) get a retrofit to bring them in line with seismic conditions in the area”

            For an arc bridge?

            It was the worst bridge design for that area, evidenced by the fact that they did not just build over it.

          • Yup. Most arches are older designs, and thus have a pretty high priority for an upgrade since they are typically out of modern seismic code. You can retrofit pretty much any kind of bridge if the money and the will is there. Here’s an example of one that is nearly a century old and done within the last couple of years:

            I grant you, it is smaller the viaducto 1, but retrofitting is pretty normal for any bridge with a relatively high traffic flow, so seismic issues aren’t really relative..

            It was the worst bridge design for that area, evidenced by the fact that they did not just build over it.

            Actually, the fact they effectively did nothing at all despite being aware that collapse was an eventuality for decades, until that eventuality came to pass speaks far more to the evidene of disinvestment in infrastructure than anything else. La trocha doesn’t count…how much time did that add to the commute? 2 hours?

            It wasn’t just Chavez; Lusicnhi, CAP and Caldera also kicked the can down the road…but the collapse happened on Chavez’s watch, and he certainly had the funding and the power to make a final decision…but even he didn’t do so until it was too late.

            Whether its the viaducto, or a sewer pipe…infrastructure, along with so much else, is rotting in Venezuela.

          • Viaducto 1 is not the only collapsed bridge. The state of infrastructure is deplorable. Some cases it is lack of maintenance and in other cases it is unfinished.

            Same goes for PDVSA’s infrastructure. And now sewer pipes at airport.

        • Did it crack because it was rusted and never maintained, or did someone drop an old computer monitor on it? At least you implicitly concede that it IS symbolic.

        • Since none of the native (or highly educated non-native) English speakers has thrown this little turn of phrase out there yet…

          It’s ominous because… shit rolls downhill.

  1. The incident in itself is not notable , what is notable is what it says of our national ethos , our inbred inability to provide against avoidable mishaps or disasters , to plan ahead , to methodically apply ourselves to regular maintenance and upkeep. A study was once made of national manufacturers of a certain industrial item which regularly malfunctioned or showed defects as compared to the products of other manufacturers from abroad who made the same item but of much better quality . They went item per item and discovered that in many ways local manufacturers were as good or better than foreign manufacturers except that the locals were almost always neglectful and indifferent to programming for the upkeep of their installations and equipment so that their performance was marred by problems and flaws that affected the quality of their products . We see this all the time in the way public agencies are run , for example the power shortage problems were predictable , in fact plans had even been made to prevent them 14 years ago , but because only short temr electoral political goals mattered the whole planning was forgotten with the resulting fracas that we now must experience. .

  2. Another example of the govts inability to monitor and maintain its installations is what Im told happened when a Pdvsa pipeline burst over the Rio Guarapiche putting at risk the water supply of Maturin and the health of its inhabitants . Apparently most pipelines are provided with devices that measure the level of pressure of the liquids running inside them , this pressure is regulated by Valves , if the valves fail then the devices tell the operators something is amiss and they take action to prevent an accident from happening . In this case the valves where stolen by persons unknown ( a very common ocurrence in todays venezuela) and as the devices were not working properly ( and nobody had bothered to check on them) the pressure went up to a level where the accident ocurred filling the guarapiche with crude oil . This accident which had very nasty consequences for the people of Maturin could have been avoided , the fact that it wasnt is a sign that Pdvsa’s capacity to monitor and upkeep its installation is wanting , something that didnt ocurr before and which now is becoming more and more common as the upkeep and maintenance of Pdvsa installations is neglected by those responsible for their upkeep.


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