As earthquakes have become more and more commonplace in Oklahoma, the need for earthquake-resistant construction has become much more lucrative. But why? 

How do earthquakes damage buildings? 

Believe it or not, the brute-force shaking of the ground is not what causes the most damage to buildings and other structures. As seismic waves pass through layers of earth, this vibration can cause landslides and a process known as liquefaction. During liquefaction, previously firm soil, rock, and dirt is loosened—causing the structures on top of them to collapse or shift. 

If You Don’t Bend, You’ll Break

One would think that the way to combat earthquake-related damage best would be to build structures as robust as possible. Unfortunately, even the most robust structures are no match for a high-category seismic vibration. So, what to do? Don’t fight the earthquake—move with it. 

Seismic Base Isolation

The most popular form of earthquake-resistant construction is known as seismic base isolation. This engineering style utilizes flexible materials such as rubber or steel to isolate the foundation from the rest of the building to allow a counter-movement to any seismic waves. To onlookers, buildings outfitted with seismic base isolation appear to be almost standing still amidst even some of the most violent earthquakes. In actuality, relative to the ground around them, they move counter to the seismic waves thanks to their isolated foundations and advanced physics embedded in their engineering. 

Demonstration of Seismic Base Isolation

Demonstration of Seismic Base Isolation

Structural Reinforcement

For less top-heavy structures such as homes and smaller commercial buildings, structural reinforcement is an effective means of resisting the devastatingly violent seismic vibrations. Still, most multi-level buildings utilizing seismic base isolation have a greater chance of surviving a tumultuous earthquake. 

Construction Professionals in Oklahoma

You’re invited to learn more about the construction professionals from Cowen Construction in Tulsa, Oklahoma.