6.6 Quake Shakes Region — Not!

Tests designed to make homes more resistant to quake shaking

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Researchers staged a series of simulated earthquakes in San Diego on Monday.

Scientists with the UCSD field laboratory put a small building in Scripps Ranch to the test.  Their goal is to find a way to make homes more resistant to the shaking.

The seismic guinea pig was a 500 square-foot wooden-stud and brick veneer structure.  When put to the 6.6 magnitude test -- almost on par with the 1994 Northridge Earthquake 6.7 quake -- most of the brick facade on the west side came tumbling down.  The engineers noted that was the side where the masonry was connected to the framing with metal ties nailed into the wood.

On the east side, screws were used.

After two more tests -- one at a 6.8 and the other at 7.0 -- -- the brick veneer moved and bowed, but stayed up.
  
The tests are being conducted by scientists from UCSD and three other universities. It's part of a million-dollar project funded by the National Science Foundation and National Concrete Masonry Association.

The builders will use the recommendations in designing new homes and commercial buildings to withstand as much seismic force as possible.

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