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rejectomorph

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Rumble [Aug. 24th, 2011|05:46 pm]
rejectomorph
The interesting thing about the crowd in front of 40 Wall Street in New York City after yesterday's junior earthquake is that, if the 5.8 had actually been a fore-shock of a larger quake, they were in greater danger standing in front of the building than they'd have been if they were still inside the building. New York's skyscrapers will withstand fairly large earthquakes because steel-framed buildings have some inherent earthquake resistance (the city's masonry buildings are at considerable risk, though, as masonry construction has to be specially designed to deal with seismic events.)

But while most of the skyscrapers of New York will come through any fairly large earthquake mostly intact, the same can not be said for their windows or their exterior decoration. Had a larger earthquake struck while that crowd was milling about, they would have been exposed to falling chunks of stone and terra cotta, not to mention shards of glass from shattered windows. A narrow street in front of large buildings is one of the worst places to be in a big earthquake.

Most people's instinct is to run outside when an earthquake hits, but that's dangerous. Even in an old masonry building, you're probably going to be safer riding it out indoors, as long as you stay away from glass and heavy objects that aren't secured to something. Masonry buildings are considerably more likely to lose their facades into the street than they are to completely collapse.

A forest is a pretty bad place to be in an earthquake, too. A strong earthquake can snap trees as though they were matchsticks. During an earthquake I think I'd rather be in a large city than in this neighborhood. You just can't get away from the trees around here.

This earthquake map that Brad DeLong posted yesterday is interesting. The Pacific Rim has been so active of late that it looks like a seismic goatse.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: zyzyly
2011-08-25 03:33 am (UTC)
A seismic goatse. Hmmm.
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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2011-08-25 11:32 pm (UTC)
Ph33r Hawaii!!!
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From: tpursch
2011-08-25 04:53 am (UTC)

Danger of falling cats

I wouldn't mind being in the desert during a quake. Except that at home I might have to watch out for cats. :)
They would probably hide under stuff, but I like imagining the scene of quantities of cat-facads falling into streets. That's probably what is really wrong with Wall Street, not enough cats.

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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2011-08-25 11:06 pm (UTC)

Re: Danger of falling cats

The bulls trampled them, the bears ate them.
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From: tpursch
2011-08-26 12:34 am (UTC)

Re: Danger of falling cats

Yes they did.
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[User Picture]From: daisydumont
2011-08-25 11:33 am (UTC)
words of wisdom! i'll keep them in mind. ted and i were in a parking lot far from trees and buildings. guess the earth could've opened up and swallowed us, but it didn't, i'm happy to report.

gotta go check out that pacific rim action!.... couldn't get that site to load well but found this: with simple animation.

Edited at 2011-08-25 11:38 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2011-08-26 12:18 am (UTC)
Ground opening and swallowing people must be pretty rare. I can't find a single documented instance. Plenty of instances of people and even cars falling into cracks that open have been documented, but the cracks that open during earthquakes usually stay open until you shove dirt into them.

There are also plenty of cases of earth spewing itself out, though. Soil liquefaction causes water and sand to gush out, and when the water recedes there will be big piles of sand everywhere. While mixed with water, the soil can act just like quicksand, and can swallow cars and even parts of buildings. Here's a video from New Zealand showing liquefaction taking place. It looks like plain water flowing, but it's actually full of sand.

Water can actually be a huge threat during and after an earthquake, as can the lack of it; dams and levees can collapse, large storage tanks can fail, rivers can change course due to shifts in ground level, and of course near large bodies of water you can get tsunamis. Then there's the threat of water contamination due to cracked water mains near broken sewer pipes or failed chemical storage facilities.

Finally, a damaged water distribution system can allow post-quake fires to get out of control. That's why San Franciscans always talk about the fire destroying the city in 1906, not the earthquake. Fire probably was probably responsible for at least 90% of the property destruction.

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[User Picture]From: daisydumont
2011-08-26 12:29 am (UTC)
holy crap, that video was terrifying. so glad my car rumbled and that was it. =8-O

viral image popular in this house

now they're threatening us with Irene, arms flapping like kermit the frog. i could wish for some pretty weather and peaceful days, but it'd be pointless!
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[User Picture]From: flying_blind
2011-08-26 08:00 am (UTC)
That's exactly what the feral cats periodically do to the chairs on my back porch. Kittyquakes!


LOL never forget.
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