We live on a shifting, moving, groaning, spitting ball of rock. We want to build solid, unmoving, long-lasting structureson it. To bring about this feat of construction, builders need the help of an expert in geotechnical engineering. The geotechnical engineer has studied the shifting and moving of our rock ball and gained the knowledge to advise on how to anchor the structures or build them to accommodate what happens underneath.
Earthquakes are among the most common and widespread of potential problems that builders must plan for. Earthquakes can cause many different types of damage, and none can be ignored. The first type of damage that comes to mind when we hear of an earthquake occurrence is surface rupture. An earthquake occurs when the earth at a fault line moves in reaction to deep underground pressures that build up as the tectonic plates grind up against each other. When the pressure is released through an earthquake, the land on one or both sides of the fault line moves a little or a lot. This movement can be of several types. A crack may split the earth as the two sides separate. The shift might be in the plane of the surface, which might break the alignment of the road. There might be a vertical change, with one side of the fault becoming higher or lower than the other side.
Another possible result of an earthquake might be a landslide. If it occurs in an area of hills or cliffs, the land under the hill or cliff crumble and be dislodged and, succumbing to gravity’s pull, come tumbling to the lower elevation. Unfortunately, objects at the edge, whether trees or houses, will most likely also come tumbling down with it.
Still another effect of the quake might be subsidence. This effect might take place when the path of the earthquake takes a bend or steps over the land. In this instance, there is tension in the land, and a land area can settle very suddenly. If the quake occurs on a waterfront area, a section of the land may quickly find itself under water.
An even larger danger in an earthquake at the water’s edge can be liquefaction. This type of damage is most likely to occur around a port or a dam. Liquefaction happens when the soil is broken up and is invaded by the nearby water. The result is a sort of soupy mixture that can swallow up roadways and ruin harbors. As the land slides into the water, it can also open up other cracks in the surrounding area. This shifting of the earth can then undermine any other structures that were built there.
For many reasons, humanity considers these earthquake-prone areas to be the most attractive places to settle. Think about the most popular and admired State in the United States-California. across the Pacific we find Japan, also densely populated. Is it the dramatic landscape that developed as a result of this shifting falling landscape? Most likely.