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Seismic Barrier Protection of Critical Infrastructure from Earthquakes

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Journal Article - Open Access

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MIT Lincoln Laboratory Lexington United States

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Each year, on average, a magnitude-8 earthquake strikes somewhere in the world. In addition, 10,000 earthquake related deaths occur annually, where collapsing buildings claim most lives. Moreover, in recent events, industry activity of wastewater reinjection is suspected to cause earthquake swarms that threaten high-value infrastructure and properties. Earthquake engineering technology has evolved over many years to minimize the destructive effects of seismic waves. However, even under the best practices, significant damage and fatalities can still occur. Here we present a novel concept that redirects and attenuates hazardous seismic waves using an engineered subsurface seismic barrier. The barrier consists of borehole array and trench complexes that inhibit destructive seismic waves from entering a designated protection zone. The barrier is designed to counter not only surface waves in the aerial-horizontal plane, but employs a vertical V shaped muffler structure composed of opposing boreholes or trenches to mitigate seismic waves from diffracting and traveling in the vertical plane.

Subject Categories:

  • Structural Engineering and Building Technology
  • Seismology

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