Earthquake Resistant Construction

Did you know that the best earthquake proof structures are designed to move?

I was surprised to learn that you do better with a home framed in wood than a home framed in more rigid material. In fact, the whole idea that the big bad wolf would blow down the straw and wood home and be stymied by the brick one is backwards to the best design for earthquake zones. I was also surprised to find out that sky-scrapers can do better than some other forms of construction, because they are supported by steel girders which bend, and the whole structure is usually designed to "sway".

That might not be very comforting to those of you who work on the 75th floor, but it's true. Your building moves in order to keep you at that height, and sometimes by as much as a few feet!

Well, I count myself lucky not to live in an earthquake prone zone. However, I'm also glad to know that my wood-framed home would likely do okay (as homes go) if we ever encountered a "big one". After all, they weren't expecting a huge earthquake in Pakistan last week either.


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