Friday, February 25, 2011

Re: [californiadisasters] N.Z. Shows Even Strong Building Codes Are No Match For EQ

Good codes firmly enforced are in fact essential, esp. in hazardous areas.
(I'm saying that having once been a fire officer in a jurisdiction which had
a wood-frame enclosed shopping mall!!!)

Chelsea, MA had the same fear that our town fathers had, that strong codes
would drive away tax-paying business. Those weak-code businesses burned down
pretty much all of Chelsea (incidentally destroying the tax base).

But what's obvious from Chch is that the codes might not save us.

Case in point: The Hotel Grand Chancellor, totally "earthquake-proof" by the
latest codes, jumped one meter in the 6.3, then jumped another meter in one
of the later shocks. Really! What building can withstand that?

----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis N. Molino, Sr." <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2011 1:36 PM
Subject: Re: [californiadisasters] N.Z. Shows Even Strong Building Codes Are
No Match For EQ

Not exactly on topic but codes related is the emerging story that the fire
that recently claimed an LA Firefighter was in a building that may have
seriously been built substantially sub code.

His first Grandchild was born the day after he died.

Louis N. Molino, Sr. CET
Training Program Manager
Fire & Safety Specialists, Inc.
Typed by my fingers on my iPhone.
Please excuse any typos.
(979) 412-0890 (Cell)
(979) 690-7559 (Office)
(979) 690-7562 (Office Fax)

On Feb 25, 2011, at 15:30, Kim Noyes <> wrote:

> New Zealand shows even strong building codes are no match for monster
earthquake, experts say
> By
> Los Angeles Times
> February 25, 2011 | 8:32 am
> The devastation and loss of life in the Christchurch, New Zealand, quakes
offer some sober lessons for California, earthquake experts said.The damage
shows that a sharp earthquake in a highly vulnerable area can get the better
of strong seismic safety codes.
> "If the dart lands right on you, it generates intense shaking and a lot of
buildings that we think are safe turn out to not be safe," said Susan Hough,
seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.
> The quake's epicenter occurred less than six miles from the center of
Christchurch, New Zealand's second-largest city, far closer than a 7.0 quake
in September, which had an epicenter about 30 miles away and resulted in no
> Also, the highest ground acceleration recorded was greater than 2G, or
twice the acceleration of gravity –- which would make Tuesday's quake among
the most powerful in terms of ground-shaking acceleration on record, said
Hough. It was strong enough to throw objects in the air.
> "There's only a handful of records of shaking" as strong as 2G, Hough
said. "That's quite extreme shaking.… Some earthquakes just have stronger
shaking that affects buildings."
> By contrast, the ground shaking in the 6.7 Northridge quake in 1994 was
less, recorded at 1.7G, Hough said. Hough has estimated that the strongest
ground shaking in Port-au-Prince in the Haiti earthquake in 2010 was only
about 0.5G.
> <SNIP>
> View entire article here:

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