Printer Friendly

Tower of tremors.

Last December, an earthquake rattled Taipei, Taiwan. Scientists say that Taipei 101--the world's tallest building--may have triggered the earthshaking quake.

A scientist has proposed that the 101-story skyscraper may build stress, or force per unit area, on underground faults. When the stress increases enough along these rock bound aries, the rocks slip past one another and an earthquake occurs. "The stress added by the tower's weight is like the straw that breaks the camel's back," says Cheng-Horug Lin, a seismologist who studies earthquakes at Taipei's Institute of Earth Sciences, Academia Sinica.

His evidence? Each year between 1990 and 1997--before the skyscraper's construction--Taipei experienced roughly one earthquake of magnitude 2.0 or less on the Richter scale, a scientific measure of an earthquake's strength. From October 2004 to December 2005--after the tower's completion--three quakes with magnitudes between 3.2 and 4.0 jolted Taipei.

Some seismologists are not convinced: Leonardo Seeber, of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York, says that Taipei's earthquakes are focused 10 kilometers (6 miles) underground. There, the tower's weight would be distributed over a broad area. As a result, the stress would not build enough on individual faults to trigger an earthquake.

Still, Lin plans to continue monitoring the city's tremors to determine if the 705,000-ton tower is truly earthshaking.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Scholastic, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Taipei 101, skyscraper cause earthquake?
Author:Jango-Cohen, Judith
Publication:Science World
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:9TAIW
Date:Mar 6, 2006
Words:214
Previous Article:Teen Life resources from A to Z.
Next Article:Saturn's spiral.
Topics:


Related Articles
Los Angeles quake: a taste of the future?
Reservoir linked to deadly quake in India.
Tallying the toll of the next quake.
Pacific Ocean quake stumps scientists.
Waves in the night: Clues to a quake.
Quiet hints preceded Kobe earthquake.
How a middling quake made a giant tsunami.
Great earthquake shakes off theories.
Tremors.
Digging deep: scientists drill into the planet to catch earthquakes in action.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters