Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

New method to remain safe during quakes applauded  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 22/02/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!

(MENAFN -Arab News) THE “earthquake” was seconds away. The floodlights were on. The cameras and the sensors were ready

All eyes were on the eight-foot, two-ton section of a Washington National Cathedral pinnacle that stood like a missile in the Columbia University engineering laboratory

It was the biggest object ever tested on the lab’s shake table. (The table can hold three tons, or 6,000 pounds.) The plan was to see whether a steel reinforcing rod screwed through the middle would hold the limestone sections together

Shortly before noon, a warning buzzer sounded. A blue emergency light began flashing, and the crowd of student bystanders put on their hard hats

Lab director Adrian Brugger announced that the quake was about to begin

“And, start,” he said

The metal table on which the pinnacle was bolted began to jerk back and forth, squeaking as it did. There was no rumbling. No falling debris

No one fleeing into the streets

It lasted 30 seconds. Brugger turned from a bank of computer screens and said, “That’s it.” The room was silent. That was it? Yes, he said, that was it. Applause broke out

Last week, an earthquake similar to the 5.8-magnitude quake that struck the Washington area in August 2011 was simulated in New York City. But it was in a laboratory. There were no injuries, and the whole thing was sort of underwhelming

The simulation was a success, though. The steel rod held the pieces of the test pinnacle firmly together. There was nary a crack in the stone or the mortar

“Well, there you have it,” said Joe Alonso, the cathedral’s head stonemason, who had helped put the test together and was watching. “I’m glad what we didn’t see. We saw it on Aug. 23, 2011. That was enough for me.” “It’s not very interesting,” said George Deodatis, chairman of Columbia’s Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. “But this is how the earthquake occurred.&rdquo

He said the engineers thought about adding some low-frequency noise to the test for effect. “But we’re not Hollywood,” he said. “We’re scientists.&rdquo

The real earthquake, on a Tuesday afternoon, rattled the 301-foot-tall Episcopal cathedral in Northwest Washington to the tips of its majestic towers. Gargoyles, crockets and huge stone finials shook loose and came crashing down

The quake knocked off the top of the southwest pinnacle on the cathedral’s central tower. The pinnacle fell on the cathedral roof, and the shaking nearly knocked over the tops of three other pinnacles, which were within seconds of falling

All loose or dislodged stone was subsequently removed from the structure, which suffered millions of dollars in damage. Full repairs are expected to take years

The stones of the old pinnacles had been held together with small bronze dowels, Aloso said. As earthquake repairs proceeded on the English Gothic-style cathedral, experts realized they needed a better system of reinforcement

The steel rod seemed to be the answer

Alonso, who has been immersed in the cathedral’s repairs since the quake, said he thought that it worked

“That rod that’s in there, the way we screwed it down, I would imagine that did what it was supposed to do,” he said. “Without that rod, if that was doweled together with those little bronze dowels . . . there’s no doubt this thing would have come apart just like they did in the quake.&rdquo

As for the simulation, Deodatis said it was difficult to replicate exactly what was experienced at the cathedral, almost 100 miles from the quake’s epicenter near Mineral, Virgini

The Columbia engineers came up with a good estimate and then bumped the intensity up a notch. “It’s very close to what happened that day,” Deodatis said

The test, which cost about 45,000, was about a year in the making, Alonso said

It was largely arranged by longtime cathedral consultant Robert Mark, a professor emeritus of architecture and civil engineering at Princeton University. Mark and Deodatis were colleagues at Princeton

Mark, who was present at the test, said an early plan had been to place a model of the entire cathedral on the shake table. But he realized that a model would not generate the data they wanted

“We decided it’s better to do it at full scale because we wanted to check how the stone and the mortar stood up,” he said

To set up the test, Alonso ordered five pre-cut limestone pieces from the same quarry in Indiana that provided stone for the construction of the cathedral. He and other cathedral stonemasons then assembled the pieces into a rough copy of the pinnacle section that fell

Last month, the disassembled pieces were trucked to Columbia, and this month, Alonso and his men reassembled them in the Columbia laboratory and fastened them together with the rod

“The intent was . . . to simulate as close as possible the finished and fully re-created pinnacle that’s going to go back up on the central tower,” said James W. Shepherd, the cathedral’s director of preservation and facilities

The test piece won’t be used in a new pinnacle, Alonso said, but the stone will be recycled

The test included two other simulated earthquakes, a lesser shake and a more severe shake. The pinnacle structure was sound throughout

After the tests, Alonso and Deodatis used magnifiers to examine the surface of the stone for cracks

“It’s in perfect condition,” Deodatis said at one point. “You’re absolutely safe.&rdquo

He added later: “I would stand next to this during an earthquake.&rdquo

“You can’t get a better guarantee than that,” Mark said.


Arab News

  MENA News Headlines
 Oct 27 2016 - [One Day Live Training] Mixing In Stirred Tanks - Dublin, Ireland - November 08, 2016MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) [One Day Live Training] Mixing In Stirred Tanks - Dublin, Ireland - November 08, 2016 Mixing in Stirred Tanks - a one day training to enable chemical engineers with the latest ...

 Oct 27 2016 - NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is Violating the Human Rights of the DisabledMENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is Violating the Human Rights of the Disabled Jonathan Carey "Champion for the Disabled" Born September 12,1993 Killed by caregivers on February 15,2007 ...

 Oct 27 2016 - US$ 859 Mn Benelux Power Tools Market Poised for Steady GrowthMENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) US$ 859 Mn Benelux Power Tools Market Poised for Steady Growth Benelux shipments of power tools reached 10 million units in 2016, with Netherlands continuing its position as the ...

 Oct 27 2016 - Digle is Challenging the Search Ecosystem, Removing the Robots, and Making Results more RelevantMENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Digle is Challenging the Search Ecosystem, Removing the Robots, and Making Results more Relevant Digle.com is responding to the need for a better way to perform complex searches ...

 Oct 27 2016 - Simply Supplements release my NutripackTM, personalised nutrition at affordable prices.MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Simply Supplements release my NutripackTM, personalised nutrition at affordable prices. Simply Supplements, one of the UK's leading mail order and online supplements suppliers are ...

 Oct 27 2016 - Levenhuk introduces LabZZ optics for kids and teenagersMENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Levenhuk introduces LabZZ optics for kids and teenagers Levenhuk LabZZ optical products are designed especially for the youngest users. They have compact dimensions, light ...

 Oct 27 2016 - A not-to-be-missed exhibition of 145 transformative projects from 50 universities in 30 countriesMENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Global Grad Show, the largest exhibition of graduate design and innovation from universities around the world, is back with a five-fold increase in participation since its first ...

 Oct 27 2016 - Visa signs exclusive co-branded cards partnership with Etihad Aviation Group’s Global Loyalty CompanyMENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Visa (NYSE:V), a global payments technology company, today signed a multi-year partnership with Global Loyalty Company (GLC), to develop a range of co-branded credit, debit and charge ...

 Oct 27 2016 - Emirates Post Group develops core mail servicesMENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Emirates Post Group is devoting greater attention to its core mail services in post offices, as well as innovative non-postal services, in the light of the global trends of falling ...

 Oct 27 2016 - Automotive Fuel Tank Market - Global Industry AnalysisWith Future Forecast 2024MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Due to the increase in vehicle production, there has been a growing demand of automotive fuel tank market. Automotive fuel tank is a part of an engine system where the fuel is stored ...





Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Search News
Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices


Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks

Saudi Arabia 

Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor


Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters

© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help