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15. Earthquake Mitigation - Nifty 50

chart of seismic data

Earthquake hazard mitigation work, funded by NSF, developed the knowledge that will estimate seismic hazard and enhance the reliability and performance of our infrastructure systems.

The infrastructure includes buildings, bridges, highways, sewers, water mains and other lifelines on which we all rely when an earthquake disaster occurs. The research is conducted in the field, in experimental laboratories, at computers and in cities after an earthquake occurs.

New progress

Significant progress is being made in understanding why earthquakes occur where they do and where future earthquakes may happen. For the first time, the integration of geologic, seismic and geodetic measurements is drawing a consistent picture of the earthquake mechanism that can be used to lessen damage.

Work is well under way to develop "smart" buildings and bridges that can automatically adjust to earthquake forces. For example, the base-isolation building concept, which is somewhat analogous to large ball bearings, is currently in use at San Francisco's City Hall and at the new San Francisco International Airport terminal; with more than 1.2 million square feet of space, this is the largest base-isolated building in the world.

Original publication date: April 2000

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