It took four tries, but engineers at the Englekirk Structural Engineering Center at UC San Diego finally brought down at four-story structure they had been testing since July on the world's largest outdoor shake table. Led by John van de Lindt, a professor of Colorado State University, they were trying to understand how to make structures with wood frames and first-floor garages better equipped to withstand earthquakes.
Results so far were positive, van de Lindt told UT San Diego:
"We learned that these buildings can deform quite a bit before they collapse; that's a positive. And the ground has to move a lot."
Saturday, Aug. 17, van de Lindt and colleagues had removed the various retrofits that they had been testing for about a month. Their goal was to see how far they would have to push the building before it collapsed. It turned out to be quite a bit.
Researchers used the Englekirk Center's shake table to simulate the 1992 Cape Mendocino earthquake, a 7.2 magnitude temblor, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, a 6.9 shaker also known as the World Series earthquake, and finally the Superstition Hills earthquake, a 6.7 temblor that caused $3 million in damage in Imperial County in 1987. That's when the house fell down.
"The first floor just pancaked," van de Lindt told UT San Diego.
In addition to UT San Diego, the test was also covered by:
10News, San Diego
CBS News 8, San Diego
and other local TV stations.
Learn more about the research project here.
More info about the Englekirk Center here.
More pictures from Saturday's tests: