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Re: SEISMIC OVERTURNING OF UNANCHORED OBJECTS

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Ed, 

See "The Behavior of Inverted Pendulum Structures During Earthquakes" by
George W. Housner from the bulletin of the Seismological Society of America ,
volume 53, No. 2 pp 403-417, February 1963.

This is not exactly a simple analysis method, since the period of a rocking
block varies with its amplitude.  At small amplitude, the period is relatively
short, while at incipient overturning, the period approaches infinity --
visualize: as it overturns, the period is infinity because the block never
returns to complete a cycle.  Nevertheless, the paper will give you a very
good feel for the seismic response of a rocking block -- it's rigorous, but
has the advantage of having been written before sophisticated computer
analysis methods tended to isolate us from what's happening inside the magic
box. 

Try an iterative approach using the period computation methods of Housner's
paper and a response spectra analysis.

Nels Roselund
Structural Engineer