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Monitoring a building's response to earthquake aftershocks

The Christchurch Women's Hospital was built using innovative construction techniques that strategically reduce the connection between the building and its foundation. This approach allows the hospital to remain stationary while the ground shakes during an earthquake. 

Shortly after the 6.3 magnitude earthquake in February 2011, NSF-supported researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, worked with a New Zealand research team to install sensors throughout the hospital. Their goal was to measure the hospital's vibrations during a 10- month period following the initial earthquake. 

During this time, nearly 300 aftershock events were recorded, allowing the researchers to collect rich and detailed data about the building's performance during periods of seismic activity. The knowledge gained from this study will provide additional guidance to architects and engineers designing structures in earthquake-prone cities around the world.

Images (1 of )

  • sensors within the hospital's foundation capture aftershock responses
  • a sensor installed in the christchurch women's hospital foundation
Sensors within the foundation capture aftershock responses.
Robin Farrell
A sensor installed in the foundation of the Christchurch Women's Hospital.
Henri Gavin

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