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The Impact of Earthquakes on Buildings

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Ground shaking is the most familiar effect of earthquakes. It is a result of the passage of seismic waves through the ground, and ranges from quite gentle in small earthquakes to incredibly violent in large earthquakes. In the 27 March 1964 Alaskan earthquake, for example, strong ground shaking lasted for as much as 7 minutes! Buildings can be damaged or destroyed, people and animals have trouble standing up or moving around, and objects can be tossed around due to strong ground shaking in earthquakes.

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Earthquake can be grouped into three categories based on the depth of their foci that are shallow focus (<70 km depth), intermediate focus (70-300 km depth) and deep focus (>300 km) Geological faults, volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts and nuclear experiments will caused an earthquake. Strong earthquakes can cause severe damages and great loss of life in several ways, including fault rupture, tremors flood caused by tsunami and landslides. Earthquakes are generated by either tectonic activity, the movement of large rock plates which underlay the earth’s surface, or volcanic activity. The areas that experienced the most active seismic are related with the plate tectonics that located on the ground

When the plate tectonics tend to moved, there will be faults that may be detectable on the ground surface, but they are often out of sight below layers of soil deposits. There is about 90 percent of the earthquakes case worldwide which occur at faults along the boundaries of earth`s major crustal plates. Deformation will occurred which resulted from the movement of tectonic plate. The type of deformation that takes place during earthquake generally occurs along zones where rocks fracture to produce faults that cause tremors.

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After each major earthquake, in the engineering circles one discusses thedamage which affected the buildings during the catastrophe, and possiblemeans of prevention against the damage. From these discussions, many ideasusually emerge on alterations which should be introduced into the traditionalbuilding ways. But such is the human nature that, as soon as the first fears areover the feeling of security prevails, and nobody considers any further chan-ges; moreover, even those which have been accepted immediately after anearthquake get forgotten. Another strong earthquake is needed to remind peo-ple that the building techniques should be further developed and improved. Earthquakes are suggested to result in soil liquefaction (Zeilinga et al., 2011). This means that, when ground shaking happens, water-saturated materials, for example, the sand loses their strength and turns from solid to liquid. Soil liquefaction results in rigid structures sinking or tilting. For instance, in 1964, soil liquefaction made many buildings to sink and collapse in Alaska earthquake (Zeilinga et al., 2011).Also; other things relying on this soil for support can tilt and collapse.

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Summing up, with all these types of major damage, people often ascribe malevolence to earthquakes. Please keep in mind: not a single person has ever been killed directly by an earthquake

It is the fact that we humans persist in building things which are prone to failure in earthquakes, and then living in and around these buildings, that results in deaths during earthquakes. Earthquakes are mindless natural phenomena; we aren't.

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Betbeder‐Matibet, J. (2008). Causes of Earthquakes. Seismic Engineering, 5-53.

Braitenberg, C., & Rabinovich, A. B. (2017). The Chile-2015 (Illapel) Earthquake and Tsunami.

Griggs M. B, 2017. Man-made earthquakes will continue to shake the country.

Zeilinga, B. J., Sanders, D. T., & Ballard, R. D. (2011). Volcanoes in Human History: The Far-Reaching Effects of Major Eruptions. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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