Page 87 - AAGLA 2020-11
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 LIQUEFACTION
These faults also present an added danger because they are located along the Los Angeles basin, where local soil conditions are prone to liquefaction – a phenomenon that causes the earth to move like Jell-O when shaken. When it occurs beneath vulnerable buildings and other structures, the results can be catastrophic. This is what happened during the 1994 Northridge earthquake on Balboa Boulevard in Granada Hills, where a gas main was ruptured by lateral spreading and caught fire, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Liquefaction also contributed to the devastation of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake – when soil and debris used to fill in a lagoon to build the Marina District subsided, fractured, and caused horizontal sliding of the ground surface. The Atlantic magazine, in 2019, describes the effects of liquefaction as horrifying: “Videos of its occurrence look like found-
footage documentaries of the Second Coming, Buildings seem to simply slip away, the earth gives out, and the once-steady structures slide into the morass.”
Monster quakes are inevitable in California, but they do not have to be disasters. It is important to be prepared for their inevitable arrival. If your apartment building is in the Greater Los Angeles region, it may very well be at risk. Optimum Seismic offers complimentary consultations to help you know the risks you may face, and the steps you can take to save lives, protect your assets and your livelihood.
ENDNOTES
1 University of Southern California, “Loss Estimates for a Puente Hills Blind-Thrust Earthquake in Los Angeles, California,” Edward H. Field, et. al., 2005.
2 Geo Science World, “Accelerating slip rates on the Puente Hills blind thrust fault system beneath metropolitan Los Angeles, California, USA. Kristian Bergen et al, 2017.
 Ali Sahabi has been a licensed General Engineering Contractor (GEC) since 1993, and is a principal at Optimum Seismic, Inc. The company provides in-house engineering, steel fabrication and construction services. Optimum Seismic has completed more than 3,500 seismic retrofit, renovation, and construction projects for multifamily residential, commercial, and industrial buildings throughout California.
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