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EARTHQUAKES An earthquake is the vibration, sometimes violent, of Earth's surface that follows a release of energy in Earth's crust.

"Earthquakes are simply ground oscillations of very large amplitude and rather low frequency. The predominant mode of excitation is horizontal, not vertical as in normal ground-borne noise

Causes of Earthquakes Earthquakes are caused by active faults, which are, caused by the sudden movement of the two sides of a fault with respect to another. The occurrence of tectonic earthquakes can be explained by the theory of elastic rebound. Which was first advanced by H. B. REID. The motion along the fault is accompanied by the gradual buildup of elastic strain energy within the rock along the fault. The rock stores this strain energy like a giant spring being slowly tightened. Eventually, the strain along the fault exceeds the limit of the rocks at that point to store any additional strain. The fault then ruptures that is, it suddenly moves a comparatively large distance comparatively short amount of time. The rocky masses which form the two sides of the fault then snap back into a new position. This snapping back into position, upon the release of strain, is the "ELASTIC REBOUND" of Reid's theory. The rupture of fault results in sudden release of the strain energy that has been built up over the years. The most important form which this suddenly released energy takes is that of seismic waves.

ACTIVE FAULTS: They are caused because of fault lines passing through the tectonic plates. MOVEMENTS OF TECTONIC PLATES: They are caused because of tectonic plates are continuously floating on the mantle and thus they are set in motion. VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS: They are caused due to internal pressure building up inside the Earth's crust. SURFACE AND SUBSURFACE EXPLOSIONS: They are caused due to man made explosions such as blasts, tunneling, etc.

HOW EARTHQUAKES AFFECT Reinforced Concrete Buildings

A typical RC building is made of horizontal members (beams and slabs) and vertical members (columns and walls), and supported by foundations that rest on ground. The system comprising of RC frame. The RC frame participates in resting the earthquake forces. Earthquake shaking generates inertia forces in the building, which are proportional to the building mass. Since most of the building mass is present at floor levels, earthquake induced inertia forces primarily develop at the floor levels. These forces travel downwards - through slabs and beams to columns and walls, and then to foundations from where they are dispersed to ground. As inertia forces accumulate downwards from the top of the building, the columns and walls at lower storey experience higher earthquake- induced forces (fig 1) and are therefore designed to be stronger than those in storey above.

ROLE OF FLOOR SLABS AND MASONARY Floor slabs are horizontal plate like elements, which facilitate functional use of buildings. Usually, beams and slabs at one storey level are cast together. In residential multi-story buildings, thickness of slabs is only about 110-150mm. when beams bend in the vertical direction during earthquakes, these thin slabs bend along with them . And, when beams move with columns in the horizontal direction, the slab usually forces the beams to move together with it. In most buildings, the geometric distortion of slab is negligible in the horizontal plane; this behavior is known as the rigid diaphragm action .

After columns and floors in a RC building are cast and the concrete hardens, vertical spaces between columns and floors are usually filled-in with masonry walls to demarcate a floor into functional spaces (rooms). Normally, these masonry walls, also called infill walls, are not connected to surrounding RC columns and beams. When columns receive horizontal forces at floor levels, they try to move in horizontal direction, but masonry walls tend to resist this movement. Due to their heavy weight and thickness, these walls attract rather large horizontal forces. However, since masonry is a brittle material, these walls develop cracks once their ability to carry horizontal load is exceeded. Thus masonry walls is enhanced by mortars of good strength, making proper masonry courses, and proper packing of gaps between RC frame and masonry infill walls

HORIZONTAL EARTHQUAKE EFFECTS Under gravity loads, tension in the beams is at the bottom surface of the beam in the central location and is at the top surface at the ends. The level of bending moment due to earthquake loading depends on severity of shaking and can exceed that due to gravity loading. Thus, under strong earthquake shaking, the beam ends can develop tension on either of the top and bottom faces. Since concrete cannot carry this tension, steel bars are required on both faces of beams to resist reversals of bending moment.

STRENGTH HIERARCHY For a building to remain safe during earthquake shaking, columns should be stronger than beams, and foundations should be stronger than columns. If columns are made weaker, they suffer severe local damage, at the top and bottom of a particular storey.

Is it possible to construct Earthquake-proof buildings?

Maybe it is, but the costs can be huge. So, only Nuclear Power Plants can afford to be Earthquake Proof. For the rest of us, its earthquake resistant buildings, so that we can minimize the loss of life and property, Earthquakes do not kill people, but actually people are killed by the collapse of badly designed and constructed buildings. But, with the different types of new materials available in our inventory, it is feasible to construct an earthquake-resistant building Some care should be taken while constructing a building in earthquake prone areas. Special attention should be given to Structural Design of the structure. Here are some tips for designing safer structures.

[1] Building should be of regular shapes. Cylindrical structures perform better in high-wind areas. [2] Architect should try to design the building as aerodynamic as possible. This reduces the effect of Wind load on tall structures [3] There should no odd shapes in elevation and the whole building should be in balance. The center of gravity of building should not move. [4] Cantilever projections should be minimum and their length should not be more than 3 to 4 feet. [5] The span between the columns should be as small as possible [6] Point loads on load-carrying beams should be avoided. [7] The dead loads on the cottage-building should not be increased unnecessarily. For Example, Terrace garden or terrace swimming pools should be avoided, if possible. [8] The sunk portions of WC and bath should be minimum

[9] Building should be a Reinforced Concrete framed structure. It provides better stability and reliability in Earthquake-prone areas [10] Cottage-building's foundation should be placed on hard and level ground [11] There should not be very large overhead water tanks than are required. If it has to have larger capacity, then it should be divided into two three smaller tanks and should be kept at different locations to maintain balance of cottage-building. [12] If the column length is more than 12 feet, then bracing beams should be provided in between the column at regular intervals. Bracing beams strengthen a column, and allow construction of multistoried buildings [13] The columns should be connected at each level.

[14] For strengthening the brickwork, a sill or a lintel should be provided at every 3 feet level, and R.C.C. wall should be taken where it is possible. [15]Cottage- building should not contain very large and heavy windows. They are bound to weaken the structure. [16] The cottage- building's electrification should contain a main switch and circuit breakers so as to avoid fire hazards because of short circuit in the earthquake. [17] The glass used in any structure should be fiberreinforced glass or wire glass. [18] Use of new and better materials like Fiberreinforced Concrete and fiber-glass should be recommended. These new materials decrease dead load and increase the structure's strength.

Construction Techniques for Earthquake Resistance

Conventional Approach Design depends upon providing the building with strength, stiffness and inelastic deformation capacity which are great enough to withstand a given level of earthquake-generated force. This can be accomplished by selection of an appropriate structural configuration and careful detailing of structural members, such as beams and columns, and the connections between them

Increase natural period of structures by BaseIsolation.

Increase damping of system by Energy Dissipation Devices. By using Active Control Devices.

EARTHQUAKE DESIGN PHIOSOPHY Severity of ground shaking at a given location during an earthquake can be minor, moderate and strong. Thus relatively speaking, minor shaking occurs frequently; moderate shaking occasionally and strong shaking rarely. For instance, on average annually about 800 earthquakes of magnitude 5.0-5.9 occur in the world while about 18 for magnitude range 7.0-7.9. So we should design and construct a building to resist that rare earthquake shaking that may come only once in 500 years or even once in 2000 years, even though the life of the building may be 50 or 100 years? Engineers do not attempt to make earthquake proof buildings that will not get damaged even during the rare but strong earthquake; such buildings will be too robust and also too expensive. Instead the engineering intention is to make buildings earthquakeresistant; such buildings resist the effects of ground shaking, although they may get damaged severely but would not collapse during the strong earthquake. Thus, safety of people and contents is assured in earthquake-resistant buildings, and thereby a disaster is avoided. This is a major objective of seismic design codes throughout the world.

DESIGN PHILOSOPHY a) Under minor but frequent shaking, the main members of the buildings that carry vertical and horizontal forces should not be damaged; however buildings parts that do not carry load may sustain repairable damage. b) Under moderate but occasional shaking, the main members may sustain repairable damage, while the other parts that do not carry load may sustain repairable damage. c) Under strong but rare shaking, the main members may sustain severe damage, but the building should not collapse.
Earthquake resistant design is therefore concerned about ensuring that the damages in buildings during earthquakes are of acceptable variety, and also that they occur at the right places and in right amounts. This approach of earthquake resistant design is much like the use of electrical fuses in houses: to protect the entire electrical wiring and appliances in the house, you sacrifice some small parts of electrical circuit, called fuses; these fuses are easily replaced after the electrical over-current. Likewise to save the building from collapsing you need to allow some pre-determined parts to undergo the acceptable type and level of damage. Earthquake resistant buildings, particularly their main elements, need to be built with ductility in them. Such buildings have the ability to sway back-and-forth during an earthquake, and to withstand the earthquake effects with some damage, but without collapse.