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Bearing Shear Wall

A bearing shear wall is another term used by structural engineers and builders to describe a type of wall, or actually a wall system designed to provide strength to a building by transferring stress to the foundation.

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Tilt Up

This blog is a continuing discussion about building types, and how they respond to earthquakes. Today’s blog is about tilt up buildings. (Once all the most common building types are explained, I’ll move on to translating peak ground acceleration and “g” forces, and the term probability.)

What’s a tilt up?

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Wood Frame

What type of building do you live in? work in? play in? If your children are in school or college, what kind of building types do they take classes, or live in? Occupied with the business of living, you probably don’t think much about the strength or safety of the walls that surround you or the roof overhead. But knowing a little more about the structures you spend your time in could benefit you in all kinds of ways – and maybe even save your life. Let's start with "wood-frame" construction.

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Earthquake Damage and the Home Response Tool

I grew up in earthquake country – otherwise known as the Los Angeles greater metropolitan region – and lived through dozens of “felt” earthquakes. Before the magnitude 6.7 Sylmar (San Fernando, CA) earthquake of 1971, I thought earthquakes were kind of fun. Of course, I was still a teenager, and thought I was invincible. A little “jiggle” now and then made life a little spicier, and no real damage occurred from the mild, infrequent events spanning most of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

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Cruisin' Down the Fault Line

The San Andreas fault is visible from space.  A long scar on the earth, the fault winds its way south from Mendocino, Fort Ross and San Francisco, through central California to Tejon Pass, then north of Los Angeles to Cajon Pass and San Bernadino, finally leaving the state by way of the Imperial Valley to Mexico and the Gulf of California.

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Tomorrow? or 2012?

A new disaster movie is about to be released. “2012” is another in a series of fantastical apocalyptic stories, this time based on the Mayan "Long Count" calendar, which marks the end of a 5,126-year era on December 21, 2012. The movie has amazing visual effects that depict earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, fires, meteor showers, and all manner of nightmarish events unleashed on Earth – all at the same time – on this future date. Some (including this blogger) have noticed a familiar resemblance to widespread, and unwarranted,

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Travelogue: Gaining hands-on understanding through exhibits

Open Hazards provides people all over the world with online information about earthquake hazards, and it’s all free to site visitors and members. We hope you’ll return often to the site to gain a better understanding of how earthquake hazards might affect you and your family, and to learn more about what you can do to avoid the negative impact from a damaging event that could strike where you live.

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Who Pays for Earthquake Damage?

Earthquake risk to populations in California and around the world is growing exponentially,  even as the insurance and financial industries are less and less able to insure the loss. 

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Introducing this Blogger

I’d like to introduce myself to Open Hazards visitors and members. If you’ve read any of the previous OH•Zone entries, you may have noticed that I’m writing to non-technical audiences – people like myself, who are not trained scientists or engineers, but who have a real interest in learning more about our world and how it works.

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Elastic Rebound

Earthquake Underground blogger John Rundle talks about the “Elastic Rebound” effect. If you hang out with earthquake scientists or engineers, it’s a term that’s commonly understood. But what if you’re like me, a non-scientist, and terms like this are used to explain why the earth occasionally heaves beneath your feet? Let's pull the term elastic rebound  apart to better understand what it means.


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