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Can New York’s row houses handle an earthquake?

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Posted February 13, 2013

Researchers will conduct a rare – if not unprecedented – large-scale earthquake simulation to determine how vulnerable New York’s unreinforced masonry buildings (row houses) are to temblors.

Designed to imitate the 2011 Virginia quake that rattled the East Coast, the test will occur Feb. 19 at the University at Buffalo’s Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER). The time of the shake test will be set by Feb. 18.

Two 14-foot-tall walls – built with materials such as 100-year-old brick – will replicate turn-of-the-century row houses (often called “brownstones”) found in New York.

Researchers will use an earthquake shake table within UB’s earthquake simulation lab to mimic the Virginia temblor as if its epicenter was under the New York region. They will use the test results to calculate estimates for property loss and potential human casualties.

Source: State University of New York at Buffalo

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