• Question: Is it possible to fully protect a building against an earthquake?

    Asked by bsykes to Amy, Drew, Julia, Kimberley, Sara on 21 Jun 2011. This question was also asked by tfry.
    • Photo: Drew Rae

      Drew Rae answered on 17 Jun 2011:


      Hi there Bsykes. Building codes make a big difference in earthquakes. There’s no such thing as “full protection”, but you can design even a skyscraper that has a very low probability of falling down even in a large earthquake. Tokyo has lots of tall buildings, and frequent earthquakes. Even in big earthquakes the modern buildings are pretty safe, but there’s always a chance of a bigger earthquake, or cracks developing over time without being detected.

    • Photo: Julia Griffen

      Julia Griffen answered on 19 Jun 2011:


      See what i’ve said here:

      Could earthquakes be prevented?

    • Photo: Sara Imari Walker

      Sara Imari Walker answered on 20 Jun 2011:


      Hi bsykes and tfry! I don’t think a building can be 100% earthquake proof but we can get pretty close! In particular a lot of Asian countries such as Japan and Taiwan try to build Earthquake proof skyscrapers given the large number of quakes occurring in that part of the world. Check out the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthquake_engineering

      Taipei 101 looks pretty amazing!!!

    • Photo: Amy MacQueen

      Amy MacQueen answered on 21 Jun 2011:


      Probably not fully but buildings can be designed in such a way as to greatly reduce the risk of damage to them and the loss of life caused by falling buildings. Either the structural system can be fused so all of the damage is limited to one part where the energy is channelled to or the buildings can be constructed on bearings which reduce the force on the building! 🙂

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