New Study Finds Los Angeles Buildings More Susceptible to Earthquake Damage

Posted July 10, 2018, under Blog

Los Angeles, it’s time to get serious about earthquake safety.

According to a new project from CyberShake, they’ve identified how earthquake shaking will actually affect Los Angeles’ most at-risk buildings.

Based on their recent findings, Los Angeles’ homes and structures are expected to see an increase in shaking across all earthquake magnitudes by 10-50 percent.

That’s a big jump from previous findings of earthquake strength and magnitude – meaning the future of building codes and safety will change.

“We can’t predict earthquakes,” Tom Jordan, a professor of geological sciences at USC and lead author of CyberShake said about the project. “But what we’re doing is a much better job of predicting what will happen when they occur.”

The new data highlights the importance of earthquake retrofitting, in addition to future building and safety codes around Los Angeles and other high-risk earthquake areas.

The study likewise found that “tall buildings” around the county – those that are 20 stories or more – are at greater risk for damage, according to the new findings of earthquake shaking.

Luckily, Los Angeles and other areas in the county have upped their efforts to retrofit and reinforce at-risk structures around the region.

In 2014, 14,000 buildings – including apartment buildings – were deemed high-risk for collapse during a major earthquake.

CyberShake has also identified areas throughout the region that have the highest risk of earthquake damage – with Los Angeles and Mexico City topping the list – because the ground is softer and deeper than other nearby cities.

In and around L.A., areas like Century City, Culver City, Long Beach and Santa Monica will feel the strongest shaking, thus posing the biggest threat to taller structures.

“People have to realize that codes evolve over time,” CyberShake co-author Christine Goulet told Curbed L.A. “As a society, we’ll have to make choices.”

Now more than ever it’s important to be proactive about earthquake preparation and safety.

Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 15,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair and earthquake retrofitting in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.

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