China to build world's largest quake simulator

May 26, 2009
Former residents and tourists look at the ruins in the town Beichuan on May 12, 2009 several months after it was devastated by the 8.0-magnitude Sichuan earthquake. A Chinese university said Tuesday it had started to build the world's largest quake simulator, a week after the first anniversary of the deadly earthquake in southwest China.

A Chinese university said Tuesday it had started to build the world's largest quake simulator, a week after the first anniversary of the deadly earthquake in southwest China.

It will be used to accurately test the designs of bridges, tunnels, subways, stadiums and skyscrapers, Shanghai's Tongji University said in an emailed statement.

The four vibrating platforms, capable of carrying 200 tonnes, will generate a simulated quake to test a model's capacity to withstand the destructive power generated by the movement of the Earth's crust.

Currently the world's largest quake simulator is at the University of Nevada in the United States, but it can only handle about half the capacity of the Tongji simulator, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

"With a larger total bearing ability, we can set up a bigger and more elaborate model of a structure to put on the vibrators," civil and structural engineering professor Li Jianzhong was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

It will take two years to complete the construction of the Tongji centre.

Last year's 8.0-magnitude Sichuan earthquake left nearly 87,000 dead or missing.

At least 5,335 students were killed or went missing when their classrooms crumbled on them.

Nearby structures stood firm, and devastated parents have blamed local cadres for pocketing construction money and building low-quality schools.

(c) 2009 AFP

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