Monday, July 19, 2010

Earthquake Readiness

Got curious about how well Carbondale would fare in the event of a major earthquake, certainly a concern given the presence of fault lines in both the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys so checked with the city. Turns out we're in pretty good shape.

Assuming they are still structurally sound, most wood and steel framed buildings in the city should withstand the effects of an moderate earthquake, though newer buildings will suffer less damange than older ones. Ergo, the residential sections of Carbondale should come through relatively unscathed. However, the older areas closer to downtown, such as the Arbor District, would suffer more damage than the newer expansions to the west.

Buildings erected in the last 20 years have had to adhere to stricter seismic codes so recent developments such as the new apartment houses to the south and east should readily withstand most shocks. Public buildings such as the Civic Center/City Hall and the eastside fire station should withstand all but the most drastic shocks. Memorial Hospital and Dick's Sporting G00ds were also retrofitted during their recent remodels to make them more seismically resistant.

The area most likely to suffer sever damage in the event of an serious earthquake would be the downtown business district as the masonry and brick structures there are not particularly flexible and have not been reinforced to withstand seismic shocks. Carbondale could expect to see the greatest percentage of damaged buildings within this area.

Buidling inspector John Lenzini believes that, due to Carbondale's enforcement of building codes, the city is in better shape than surrounding communities to withstand earthquakes. City inspectors examine plans before building starts and inspect the property regularly work continues.

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