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How long do structures continue shaking after quake?

  1. Jan 10, 2010 #1
    I live in northern California and there was a substantial earthquake here yesterday. To me, it seemed as though the shaking continued for somewhere between 30 seconds and 60 seconds, but one newspaper article stated the ground shook for 10 seconds.

    Does anyone know how long structures such as houses make from wood continue to shake after the ground shaking subsides?

    (I posted here because I did not consider this a "homework" type question)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2010 #2

    russ_watters

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    Most small buildings have a lot of damping/aren't very elastic so they would not continue to shake for more than a second or two after the ground stopped shaking.
     
  4. Jan 17, 2010 #3

    PhanthomJay

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    I've only experienced an earthquake once, a 7.1 in San Fran back in '88 or so, while I was driving my car. The road rolled, I had trouble steering, and I noticed a telephone pole swaying back and forth. After the ground stopped shaking, the pole quickly dampened out in a few seconds, as Russ noted. Back in the hotel room later, an aftershock occured. A glass on the desktop tipped over, but then the the shaking stopped in barely a second or 2. Having never experienced a quake before, I didn't know it was an earthquake until the radio announcer of the world series game in Oakland, that I was listening to, shouted, "I think weve had an earthquake!'". Fortunately, injuries, destruction, and deaths were minimal, unlike the terrible tragic results of the recent Haiti earthquake, of similar strength.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  5. Jan 17, 2010 #4

    russ_watters

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    ...and a telephone pole is actually reasonably elastic. A lot more elastic than a concrete block.
     
  6. Jan 17, 2010 #5

    PhanthomJay

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    Right, the pole shook for a few seconds; the hotel shaking post quake was minimal.
     
  7. Jan 19, 2010 #6
    Around 40 people were killed by the Loma Prieta earthquake in October, 1989. Much less than Haiti 2010, yes; but I don't think 'minimal' is an appropriate description.
     
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