Soil Types Affecting Earthquakes

The bodies of the Earth lay on tectonic plates that slide around underneath the surface. These plates when collide will create earthquakes that shake the ground and cause damage to both the earth and to the nearby structures and lifeforms. For property owners who want to lower the risk of having a problematic living place, they should learn how to assess certain soil characteristics that make the property more resistant to the earthquake’s shaking. Property owners can construct their buildings on solid bedrock too.

Here are among soil types that can be affected through earthquakes:

  • Sedimentary basins and deep valleys have loose soil that goes very deep thus shaking the most as these areas have a lower altitude.
    • There are many cities built in valleys in basins that could lead to earthquakes and sometimes to something more catastrophic.
    • For earthquakes occurring in soft soil, high raise buildings and bridges sustain most of the damage. Soil at higher altitudes does not carry as many vibrations and have more potential for landslides.
  • Areas that have lots of rock and highly compacted soil are the best earthquakes resistant. The hard rock areas will resist the shaking and do not break easily. The areas that are artificially filled with loose sand and once very wet, would suffer the most during an earthquake.
  • The more condensed and compact the soil, the more hardened the rock that the soil contains resulted less than the soil transfer vibrations. Looser soil tends to transmit vibrations that lead to more destruction during earthquakes. Over time, it can create more damage as the vibrations are also longer on looser soil.
  • Soil liquidification is the loss of strength in saturated soil after a buildup of pore water pressures during the dynamic loading.
    • Soils have the ability to resist force that comes horizontally or known as shear resistance.
    • Soils subjected to earthquakes can lose their shear resistance that will cause the soil to flow around in semi-liquid form, which can cause a lot of damage to structures resting on soil.
    • This liquidification is the most destructive effects in low-laying areas with poor compacted artificial fill. It can come up from the ground through cracks and make the sand deposit all over and deform the land permanently.

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