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January 2nd, 2009
09:40 AM ET

Weaknesses found in steel high-rises

Jia-Rui Chong
The Los Angeles Times

Modern steel buildings have long been considered among the most sturdy in the event of a major earthquake. But a model of a massive quake in Southern California has sparked debate among scientists and engineers over whether these structures are more vulnerable than previously thought.

The Great Southern California ShakeOut, the nation's largest quake drill, suggested that about five high-rise steel buildings in the region would collapse in the modeled magnitude 7.8 quake.

High-rise steel buildings sustained less damage than unreinforced brick buildings and older concrete buildings in the analysis. But the damage they sustained was greater than expected based on the standard building design formulas.

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Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. JC- Los Angeles

    Judging from the horrid stewardship displayed by most of our leaders, executives and politicians, it would only seem fitting that perhaps our highrises may be on the brink of collapse.

    I can just hear the executive conversations now: "did you solidify the base of the structure?" Reply: "aah, I, aah, believe, we might have, aah, but I'm not entirely sure."

    January 2, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  2. Cindy

    This study shows what I always suspected...that in a major earthquake a lot of these high-rises would crumble! I am glad that I don't live any where near them! But really what can they do now? The buildings are already built so there is no way to change their reinforcement.

    Cindy...Ga.

    January 2, 2009 at 10:15 am |