Newer structural standards mitigating earthquake impacts in Oklahoma

Buildings constructed in the last two decades are largely holding up to increased seismic activity.

February 07, 2017 |

Pixabay Public Domain

Buildings designed within the last 20 years have largely held up well to a spike in the number of earthquakes in recent years in Oklahoma, according to a report in Tulsa World.

The article quotes a co-founder of a local engineering firm who says that newer buildings designed to code have not suffered damage to his knowledge. Oklahoma has experienced a dramatic rise in seismic activity—both in the number of events and in severity—over the past several years.

Oklahoma was struck by 623 magnitude 3.0-plus earthquakes and three of the five strongest quakes in state history in 2016. Scientists have linked the uptick to increased fracking for oil and natural gas.

One notable change in local building standards in recent years is an increased emphasis on the bracing of mechanical and electrical components to withstand seismic activity. This issue has received more attention particularly for structures that contain critical infrastructure such as wastewater treatment plants.

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