Scientists Say Buildings in LA are Still Not Earthquake Safe

A study released today shows many buildings are still in use that would completely collapse during a major earthquake.

Photo credit: Hollywood Patch.
Photo credit: Hollywood Patch.

This morning’s 4.4 magnitude earthquake felt throughout the Los Angeles area has conveniently happened the same day that scientists release a study showing steel-frame buildings are still vulnerable to seismic activity. 

U.S. Geological Survey engineers and scientists at California Institute of Technology worked on the study that involved using computer models of buildings to simulate how these structures would hold up during seismic motions.

“We’re not saying that every building constructed before 1994 is going to collapse in an earthquake,” said Tom Heaton, director of Caltech’s Earthquake Engineering Research Lab. “We’re saying that the buildings continue to be in use that pose a greater risk of physical injury and financial harm than is necessary.”

Nearly 65,000 moderate, strong and very strong simulated motions showed that buildings with fracture-prone welds are more likely to be completely destroyed in a major earthquake than structures with sound welds.

-City News Service contributed to this report.


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