Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Will It Shake? Jacobs School Engineers Featured on Earthquake Preparedness TV Show

What would happen to your wine rack during an earthquake? The TV show "Totally Unprepared" set out to answer this question with a little help from one of the shake tables at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego.

Engineers installed two dummies and two wine racks on one of the campus' smaller shake tables. One of the racks was tied to the wall with straps and its bottles were secured with museum putty. The other rack was not secured.

Next, engineers put the dummies and wine racks through a small quake, the kind that happens pretty much every month in California. Nothing moved. But when the intensity of the shaking was ratcheted up to a 7.5 magnitude temblor, the wine rack that was not secured came crashing down on top of one of the dummies. Bottles shattered, scattering broken glass everywhere.

"If you value your wine, I'd secure it," concluded Andy Gunthardt, a structural engineer who oversees the shake tables on campus.

"Totally Unprepared" is funded by the California Emergency Management Agency, the California Earthquake Authority and the California Seismic Safety Commission.

Watch the episode that took place at the Jacobs School:

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