Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Why can't we build an earthquake-resistant building?

  1. Feb 21, 2008 #1
    What are the forces that we need to consider when constructing a building?
    when there are tree that can resist an earthquake why can't a building resist it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 21, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    We can build them. There are plenty of earthquake resistant buildings in California.

  4. Feb 21, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    There is of course a difference between earthquake resistant and earthquake proof.
  5. Feb 21, 2008 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Japan is also on the forefront of engineering in earthquake resistant structures. The basic idea is engineers take a very close look at a structure's natural vibrational modes and frequency response to the forcing frequency of an earthquake, based on empirical measurment.
  6. Feb 21, 2008 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Ultimately it's a question of cost. You could build a building that was totally proof against an earthquake, but you wouldn't want to pay for, or live in, a bomb shelter.
  7. Feb 21, 2008 #6
    lots of people are working on it. my civil department specializes in seismic design
  8. Feb 21, 2008 #7


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Simple answer: trees bend. Bricks don't.
  9. Feb 21, 2008 #8
    You might want to visit the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) web site.
    If you are nearby to Oakland, they used to also have some really neat exhibits at their HQ. It's also close to Jack London Square and you can see the original models for the Imperial Walkers (a plug for Oakland).
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  10. Feb 21, 2008 #9


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    With every big (high magnitude in richter scale) earthquake more research is done, and building codes get updated thus buildings get more resistant to earthquakes.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook