UB Media Advisory: Researchers use shake tables to replicate California earthquake beneath two-story test building

Release Date: August 14, 2013

Johns Hopkins’ researchers chose to work in Buffalo because UB has the only earthquake simulation lab in the U.S that is capable of performing this test.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – On Friday, researchers from The Johns Hopkins University will conduct tests to see how a Southern California earthquake could impact a two-story office building.

Two shake tables at the University at Buffalo’s Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory will mimic the strongest seismic forces recorded during the catastrophic Northridge earthquake in 1994.

A description of the project and short video are available here: http://releases.jhu.edu/2013/07/31/man-made-quakes-could-lead-to-safer-sturdier-buildings/.

Johns Hopkins’ researchers chose to work in Buffalo because UB has the only earthquake simulation lab in the U.S. that is capable of performing this test. Several local contractors, including Mader Construction Co. of Elma and ALP Steel of Buffalo, have worked on the project.

Members of the news media are invited to observe, photograph and film the test. See important safety rules below.

When: Friday, Aug. 16. From 8-10:30 a.m., researchers will give pre-test tours of the building and answer questions about the test. At 10:30 a.m., visitors, including news media, will be asked to move to a safe viewing area. Shaking begins at 11 a.m. Trials will include four low-level tests, each lasting 90 seconds, and one “big test” that replicates the Northridge quake. This test will last about 30 seconds.

Where: The earthquake testing lab is located at Ketter Hall (building No. 36 on this map: http://www.buffalo.edu/buildings/maps/NorthCampus.pdf), on UB’s North Campus.

Who: Available for interviews: the project’s lead investigator, Benjamin Schafer, professor and chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at Johns Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering; and Johns Hopkins’ doctoral student Kara Peterman, who supervised construction of the test building.

Why: The test building was built with cold-formed steel, which is made of recycled steel. The test should show how well such buildings will withstand earthquake forces.

Important safety rules: Visitors must wear sturdy closed-toe shoes (preferably boots) and long pants. No exceptions will be made for high heels, ballet flats, sandals and similar footwear. Hard hats, which will be provided at the lab, must be worn at all times.

Press arrangements onsite: Charles Anzalone from the UB Office of Communications at 440-8824.

Media Contact Information

Cory Nealon
Director of News Content
Engineering, Computer Science
Tel: 716-645-4614
Twitter: @UBengineering