Friday, January 1, 2016

New reason to fear highrises in earthquakes


This isn't a standard bank tower problem, it's a soft-storey condo problem.  At the discontinuity, there will be high shear stress when an earthquake conducts its dynamic fling.  Everybody will be on the deck, with their bbq's and piles of litter.  Then the fire starts right under a balcony.  Mr. and Mrs.  Smith have loaded it with decorations, plastic cats, and a propane tank.  Luckily, the propane tank is safe, and shoots flame straight up, not exploding.  Mr. Jones, however, keeps his entire Star Wars collection on the balcony above, including his Storm Trooper outfits.

People can evacuate, but in an earthquake, all the glass starts falling out, causing fires in the condos, hopefully put out by the interior sprinkler system.  Forget the fire department, because every other condo is a torch.

In your standard office tower, you can look on the city with horror.  Do not evacuate!

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