Major earthquake would collapse over a thousand buildings in Los Angeles

October 15, 2013LOS ANGELES, CAMore than 1,000 old concrete buildings in Los Angeles and hundreds more throughout the county may be at risk of collapsing in a major earthquake, according to a Times analysis. By the most conservative estimate, as many as 50 of these buildings in the city alone would be destroyed, exposing thousands to injury or death. A cross-section of the city lives and works in them: seamstresses in downtown factories, white-collar workers in Ventura Boulevard high-rises and condo dwellers on Millionaires’ Mile in Westwood. Despite their sturdy appearance, many older concrete buildings are vulnerable to the sideways movement of a major earthquake because they don’t have enough steel reinforcing bars to hold columns in place. Los Angeles officials have known about the dangers for more than 40 years but have failed to force owners to make their properties safer. The city has even rejected calls to make a list of concrete buildings. In the absence of city action, university scientists compiled the first comprehensive inventory of potentially dangerous concrete buildings in Los Angeles. The scientists, however, have declined to make the information public. They said they are willing to share it with L.A. officials, but only if the city requests a copy. The city has not done so, the scientists said. Recent earthquakes have spotlighted the deadly potential of buildings held up by concrete. A 2011 quake in Christchurch, New Zealand, more than two years ago toppled two concrete office towers, killing 133 people. Many of the 6,000 people killed in a 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, were in concrete buildings. In 1971, the Sylmar earthquake brought down several concrete structures, killing 52.
Twenty-three years later, the Northridge earthquake wrecked more, including a Bullock’s department store and Kaiser medical office. Seismologists said a bigger quake is overdue. “We know darn well that if a bunch of people die, there will be lots of stories, lots of reports, things will change,” said Thomas Heaton, director of Caltech’s Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory. “But the question is, do we have to have lots of people die in order to make this change?” In the Roaring Twenties, concrete buildings helped transform the Los Angeles skyline, as office towers and apartments rose from the city’s landscape. By the 1970s, canyons of concrete towers lined some of L.A.’s most famous streets: Wilshire, Hollywood, Sunset, Ventura, Main and Broadway. They include landmarks such as the Capitol Records tower, the Hollywood Plaza apartments and the W Hotel in Westwood, according to city records. A team of Times reporters mined thousands of city and county records to identify older concrete buildings. The Times found more than 1,000 buildings in Los Angeles and hundreds elsewhere in the county that appeared to be concrete. Reporters walked through seven L.A. business districts to gauge the accuracy of the list. They pulled building permits and sent questionnaires to dozens of property owners, asking them to review the details. In these areas, The Times found 68 older concrete buildings, according to public records. Of those, just seven had been retrofitted, or strengthened to survive large earthquakes. The reporters’ work covered a fraction of the older concrete structures in the city. –LA Times
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8 Responses to Major earthquake would collapse over a thousand buildings in Los Angeles

  1. bobby90247 says:

    According to “Times analysis???” Who the hell are the “Times” that makes them such an authority on earthquakes? They are…NOTHING!!! We have CalTech, Pasadena, the seismic authority in the world to make these analysis!

    So forgive me but, I really don’t give the Times any credence, whatsoever! Especially, since they are part of the Main Stream Media cover-up and misinformation propaganda machines of the world!

    Like

    • Bobi Becker says:

      Whoa Bobby, slow down a minute….. do your research on EQ’s and what devastation they do. When it does indeed happen, which it will, there will be devastation you have never seen. No matter whom does what, Times, Cal Tech or whom ever, many buildings will come down…. Do the research….. We sit on a 700 mile subduction zone. from northern California up through BC….. the devastation from a 9 magnitude EQ will be felt over 2,000 miles away…… We live East of the Cascade Range in Central Oregon and several years ago I posed a question to the USGS EQ hazards program as to what we could expect here. Their reply was that buildings over 2 stories would have major damage and the rest would suffer damage as nothing here is built EQ resistant. Plus, we are smack dab on the ring of fire with several Volcanoes right here, The Three Sisters, Newberry Crater, Crater Lake, just to name a few plus, Mt. St. Helen’s is 120 miles NW of us as the crow flies. Yes indeed, I have put in many hours and days of research and it is an ominous picture. I did in fact live here during the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption and heard the booms when it erupted.that morning. Another Volcano, in fact the largest caldera on this earth is Yellowstone, with a 400 mile long magma chamber which runs East to West. I have often stated that the escalation in EQ’s, Volcanoes, Sink holes, is related to the extraction of oil, natural gas and Fracking world wide. And this is my sole opinion, just seems logical to me, but then again, I am not an expert…… Hummmmmm So just don’t be so harsh on what you do not know about. Do the research… Life is to short to worry about it, however to be fore warned is to be fore armed. Peace, love and blessed be…

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  2. Irene C says:

    This article got me to thinking. If that much damage would happen in LA, where many buildings are built to withstand most earthquakes, imagine the damage along the New Madrid line if/when it goes. Devastation.

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    • Exactly our fears. I live in central Mississippi & a strong enough New Madrid quake would cause damage that would be catastrophic to us because NONE of our infrastructure is built for EQs. Frightening thought path to follow…….

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  3. Moriah says:

    Houses of idol worship are destroyed.

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  4. I firmly believe that the quake will open up at the SALTON SEA, and tear upwards, to Mammoth. I think, when it goes it is going to be on a scale and magnitude never seen before.
    Prediction is based only on my gut instinct, which I trust.

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  5. It is time for another devastating earthquake to hit San Francisco. My concern is personal. My daughter who is both schizophrenic and a genius who graduated from USF with a degree in International Business management while on Quazeril is at a rehab building on sixth street between Mission and Market. It is a dreadful place. The wards are crammed into units smaller than most people’s bathroom. The Senaca Hotel is ancient and an earthquake of any magnitude would surely topple it. The consequence would be horrid. Something should be done before the calamity occurs.

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    • bobby90247 says:

      Hello Sheridan! Do NOT take what the Los Angeles Times wrote to heart! MOST ALL OF THE BUILDINGS IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES HAVE BEEN RETROFITTED TO WITHSTAND “TOPPLING” IN A SEVERE EARTHQUAKE…A LONG TIME AGO!!

      YES! Many of the older building will suffer damage! BUT, most of them WILL remain standing! Certainly, most of these cannot be “restored” once they have been “hit”…but, they will NOT fall to the ground! Most of the earthquakes that CAN occur in Downtown Los Angeles will be on the scale of 7.5 or LESS!!! NOT MORE! For that matter, “IF” a major fault should “move,” it will probably be in the order of 6.5 or LESS!!!

      The possibility of an 7.5 or LARGER quake, just isn’t a reality in the Downtown Los Angeles area! Check with Cal Tech, Pasadena! They are the ones to listen too! NOT the Los Angeles Times!

      Like

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