San Francisco skyscraper wired to measure tremors could lead to improved seismic codes
Earthquakes measured in a San Francisco skyscraper may provide advances in science and lead to better seismic codes. The structure, equipped with the densest network of seismic monitoring instruments ever installed in an American high-rise, will measure tremors that even small Bay Area earthquakes can cause.
The California Geological Survey and their federal colleagues have completed the installation of 72 accelerographs on the 64-story residential tower, and expect to get unprecedented seismic data from them. The tower's 641-foot summit is designed to sway up to 3 feet in a quake, and the seismic instruments inside are so precise that they will measure that motion to within a thousandth of an inch. The instruments will also measure the building’s vertical motion as it rides up and down on an earthquake’s tides.
“What we would expect to see in a significant earthquake would be really interesting and it would help improve safety standards for future high-rise buildings,” said a state seismic agency official. The agency wants to install similar instruments on structures around the state. When a significant quake, roughly of magnitude 3 or more, strikes the Bay Area, readings would be transmitted instantly to state and federal scientists and engineers to be analyzed in detail and retained for writers of building codes and the designers of future tall buildings.
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