Sunday, May 20, 2018

Quake test could prompt ways to shore up hospitals

SAN DIEGO — What happens when a series of massive earthquakes hits a five-story medical facility with an intensive care unit, operating room and elevator?

Structural engineers at the University of California at San Diego began tests Tuesday to find out. Over the next two weeks, they will repeatedly rock an 80-foot-high building erected on a giant shake table as part of a $5 million experiment funded by government agencies, foundations and others.

The project stands out because researchers are studying what happens to items inside the building — such as elevators, stairs, lights and medical equipment — rather than just the building's structure.

A group of hard-hatted scientists, engineers, earthquake safety experts and news media stood in front of the mock facility to witness the first tests Tuesday.

"In five minutes, 1994's Northridge earthquake recorded at Los Angeles," a loudspeaker announced.

The shake table simulated the motion created by the magnitude-6.7 quake that heavily damaged the Los Angeles region.

The towering 1.4 million-pound building jolted and slid back and forth. But there were no sounds of crashing computers, crumbling concrete walls, bursting water pipes or hospital beds hurtling into walls.

Then came an even bigger one — a fake quake similar to Chile's massive 8.8 temblor in 2010.

The building swung erratically in an impressive dancing motion, as if it was on a skateboard. But the overhead lights and a computer monitor that could be seen through the windows on the top two floors, which feature a mock surgery suite and intensive care unit, did not appear to be moving dramatically.

"The ground moved a lot and the building actually stayed put," Jose Restrepo, a construction engineering professor at UCSD said after the tests.

Comments
Family, friends recall shooting victims' optimism, humor

Family, friends recall shooting victims' optimism, humor

Among the 10 people killed in the mass shooting at a Texas high school were a Pakistani exchange student, a substitute teacher with a "lust for life" and a boy whose sense of humor made him impossible to not like
Updated: 1 hour ago

AP Top News at 8:45 a.m. EDT

AP Top News at 8:45 a.m. EDT
Updated: 1 hour ago

Attorney-client privilege review in Cohen raid is on track

Criminal investigators are finally getting to study materials seized in raids on the home and office of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer
Updated: 1 hour ago

Svitolina defends Italian Open title as Halep injured again

Elina Svitolina faced little resistance from Simona Halep in a 6-0, 6-4 win Sunday to defend her Italian Open title
Updated: 1 hour ago
Record Everest climber returns, already planning next trip

Record Everest climber returns, already planning next trip

A veteran Sherpa guide who scaled Mount Everest for a record 22nd time this past week has returned from the mountain and says he's already planning his next trip
Updated: 1 hour ago
Maduro favored as Venezuelans vote amid crisis

Maduro favored as Venezuelans vote amid crisis

Venezuelans vote Sunday in a presidential election with Nicolas Maduro expected to win a second six-year term, despite a deepening crisis that's made food scarce and inflation soar as oil production in the once wealthy nation plummets
Updated: 1 hour ago
Maduro favored as Venezuelans vote amid crisis

Maduro favored as Venezuelans vote amid crisis

Venezuelans vote Sunday in a presidential election with Nicolas Maduro expected to win a second six-year term, despite a deepening crisis that's made food scarce and inflation soar as oil production in the once wealthy nation plummets
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Latest: Pope Francis prays for Venezuelans

The Latest: Pope Francis prays for Venezuelans

Pope Francis is praying that "beloved" Venezuela's people and rulers will wisely choose peace and unity as the nation elects a new president
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Latest: Pope Francis prays for Venezuelans

The Latest: Pope Francis prays for Venezuelans

Pope Francis is praying that "beloved" Venezuela's people and rulers will wisely choose peace and unity as the nation elects a new president
Updated: 2 hours ago
Erdogan in Sarajevo to rally European Turks for re-election

Erdogan in Sarajevo to rally European Turks for re-election

Turkey's president has arrived in the Bosnian capital to address supporters living in Europe, ahead of snap elections.
Updated: 2 hours ago