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Re: Tangshen

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Dear John Nichols,

You are comparing oranges and apples.  There's no argument that earthquakes
have taken horrific tolls of lives, particularly in those regions where
unreinforced masonry construction is the norm.  But from what I know about the
Tangshan earthquake, and I've read extensively on the event, none of the
242,000 deaths were reported to have occurred in **single family detached
wood-framed houses built according to the conventional construction provisions
in the model codes used in the U.S**  And it is this category of building that
is the subject of this thread.  For such buildings, the cumulative body count
in the U.S., going back to 1776, is very low, likely less than 10. 

Since I'm now in the gunsights of many folks who feel I'm spouting heresy,
here's another thought to start more howling.   Most of the deaths in
residential structures in the Northridge event were in buildings that were
required by the State of California to be, and thus were, designed by licensed
professionals.  Furthermore, those buildings were plan checked and inspected
by a building department whose staff could arguably content is the most
competent building department extant.   By this comment, I am not knocking
that department, but merely to point out that wood-frame buildings designed
and checked by professionals to comply with the codes, and adequately
inspected, nevertheless have killed many more people than buildings that
'only' met conventional construction.

Frank Lew, SE
Orinda, CA

In a message dated 98-05-24 20:38:22 EDT, cejn(--nospam--at)engmail.newcastle.edu.au write

> The death rate from the Tashkent earthquake in the centre 47 sq kilomrtes,
> about 20 sq miles was 1 in 3.  Look at your family of say 5 kids grand
> children etc and subtract off 30 percent.  Poorly constructed masonry can
> survive an earthquake seen it plenty.  It is plain dumb luck that it was
> built in right place so not get a full load or its on rock.

< The problem with masonry is it very rapidly climbs as a killer in
> earthquakes.  Of course they only lost 256,000 in Tashkent.

> I refer you to JSCE  V0l 11 No 4 p 155s-163s and also to the latest National
> geopgraphic on the earthquakes in the pacific northwest.

> Of course your right your chances of dying in an earthquake are remote
> unless your in the wrong place at teh wrong time.  Then the odds are
appalling.

In a message dated 98-05-24 20:38:22 EDT, cejn(--nospam--at)engmail.newcastle.edu.au write:

>  I dinna know why i keep thinking of it as Tashkent.  But i was wrong and
>  only 242,000 died. 
>