Engineers will severely stress 10-story tower on quake table to test the mettle of tall wood buildings

By Gary Robbins
The San Diego Union-Tribune
December 1, 2022
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Engineers at UC San Diego’s outdoor earthquake simulator in Scripps Ranch are about to finish building a 10-story wooden tower that will undergo fierce shaking to explore how well tall timber structures can handle quakes and other natural disasters. This is the tallest building ever placed on the shake table, which just underwent a $16.3 million upgrade that will enable researchers from around the world to more realistically simulate temblors. The new project is being led by the Colorado School of Mines, which will subject the tower to shaking equivalent to the magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake, which struck the San Fernando Valley in 1994. The tower is mostly composed of cross-laminated timber along with steel, making it different from traditional tall buildings, which are mostly steel and concrete. “We’re trying to see if we can construct mass timber buildings that would be resilient in high seismic zones,” said Shiling Pei, the project’s co-director.

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