Newer Structural Standards Mitigating Earthquake Impacts In Oklahoma

Newer buildings are holding up to an rising number of earthquakes in the state, caused by increased fracking for oil and natural gas

By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | February 6, 2017

Buildings designed within the last 20 years have held up well to a spike in the number of earthquakes in recent years in Oklahoma, according to a report in Tulsa World. The article quotes a co-founder of a local engineering firm who says that newer buildings designed to code have not suffered damage. Oklahoma has experienced a dramatic rise in seismic activity—both in the number of events and in severity—over the past several years.

Oklahoma was struck by 623 magnitude 3.0-plus earthquakes and three of the five strongest quakes in state history in 2016. Scientists have linked the uptick to increased fracking for oil and natural gas.

A local builder told Tulsa World that houses built under current code “aren’t in any danger with the level of seismic activity we’ve received here.” Current construction techniques using fasteners and building for wind-shear loads mean that houses constructed now are much stronger than they were 50 years ago.

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