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Damage Severe to Quake Test House

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The full-scale house that was subjected to a seismic test at UB's earthquake engineering center last month sustained significant damage and would have needed costly repairs.

A house that was built on the shake tables at the testing facility was subjected to a magnitude six-point-seven earthquake similar to the one that struck Northridge, California in 1994. About 200 observers who watched the test came away with the feeling the house had held up well. It did not collapse. But upon a review by structural engineers at UB, significant damage was uncovered.

Engineering Professor Andre Filiatrault says there was significant damage to the house's foundation. The lower level was leaning forward on its foundation by a half-inch -- enough, he says, to pose a safety hazard. And though he did not put a price-tag on the damage, Filiatrault says repair costs would have been significant.

Filiatrault says engineers will continue reviewing data and that a final report should be completed in six months. Meantime, the 18-hundred square foot house has been demolished.

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