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Most Common Ways Earthquakes Cause Damage



Earthquakes can cause significant damage to buildings, bridges, and other structures. Much of the damage is caused by ground shaking, which can cause structures to vibrate, sway, and twist, leading to cracking and other structural damage. Earthquakes can also cause other forms of damage, such as racking, sliding, and overturning.


Racking is the process of a structure being twisted or pushed out of its original shape. Racking typically occurs when the ground shaking causes the structure to shift and bend. This type of damage is common in buildings, bridges, and other structures with rigid frames.


Sliding is the process of a structure being forced out of its original position by the force of the earthquake. Sliding occurs when the earthquake causes the ground to move, pushing the structure out of its original position. This type of damage is common in structures with weak foundations, such as buildings built on hillsides or near cliffs.


Overturning is the process of a structure being tipped over by the force of the earthquake. Overturning typically occurs when the ground shaking causes the structure to tilt and eventually fall over. This type of damage is more common in structures with a high center of gravity, such as tall buildings or bridges.


Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest are most likely to cause racking and sliding damage, as these are the most common types of damage in the region. Overturning is less likely, as structures in the region typically have lower centers of gravity. However, overturning can still occur in large earthquakes, particularly if the ground shaking is strong enough to cause the structure to tip over.


Overall, earthquakes can cause significant damage to buildings, bridges, and other structures. Racking, sliding, and overturning are the most common types of damage in the Pacific Northwest, although overturning is less likely. It is important to remember that earthquakes can be extremely destructive and that proper engineering and construction practices can help reduce the risk of earthquake damage.


Curious if your property is at risk of damage from an earthquake? Book a free residential or commercial assessment today with Seattle Seismic.

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