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MEDIA ADVISORY: Huge Shake Tables Will Replicate an Earthquake Beneath a Two-Story Test Building in Buffalo

Aug. 14, 2013
Media Contact: Phil Sneiderman
Office: (443) 287-9960; Cell: (410) 299-7462

On Friday, Aug. 16, a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers will conduct final tests to see how a Southern California earthquake could impact a two-story office building. Inside a lab at the University at Buffalo in New York, two massive shake tables will be use to reproduce the strongest seismic forces recorded during the catastrophic Northridge earthquake in 1994. A detailed description of the project and a short video can be viewed at

Members of the news media are invited to observe, photograph and film the final testing.

WHEN: Friday, Aug, 16. Between 8 and 10:30 a.m., interviews with the researchers and pre-test tours of the target building and shake tables will be conducted. At 10:30, visitors must vacate the area in and around the test building and shake tables and move to a safe viewing area. Shaking begins at 11 a.m. Trials will include four low-level tests, each lasting 90 seconds, and one “big test” that replicates the strongest seismic forces recorded in the Northridge quake. This test will last about 30 seconds.

WHERE: The earthquake testing lab is located in 212 Ketter Hall, University at Buffalo, Amherst, N.Y. 14260. Directions to the school can be viewed here: http://www.buffalo.edu/home/visiting-ub/north-campus-directions.html

Ketter Hall is building No. 36 on this campus map: http://www.buffalo.edu/buildings/maps/NorthCampus.pdf ).

Visitors may park on Putnam Way or in the Fronczak Lot, near buildings Nos. 32 and 33.

WHO: Available for interviews: the project’s lead investigator, Benjamin Schafer, professor and chair of the Department of Civil Engineering in Johns Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering; and Johns Hopkins doctoral student Kara Peterman, who has supervised construction of target buildings and conducted prior testing.

IMPORTANT SAFETY RULES: Visitors to the lab must wear sturdy closed-toe shoes (preferably boots) and long pants. No exceptions will be made for high heels, ballet flats, sandals and similar footwear. Hard hats, which will be provided at the lab, must be worn at all times.

WHY: The test structure is built of cold-formed steel, an environmentally friendly material made of 100 percent recycled steel. Shake table tests should show how well such buildings will withstand earthquake forces. Results should lead to improved nationwide building codes that will guide the design of future cold-formed steel buildings and lead to lower construction costs.

PLEASE RSVP: Reporters who plan to view the testing are asked to RSVP to Phil Sneiderman, Johns Hopkins media relations, at prs@jhu.edu or (410) 299-7462 or (410) 487-9960. For questions on the day of the event, please contact Lisa DeNike, Lde@jhu.edu; cell: (443) 845-3148.

ONLINE VIEWING: The final earthquake testing also will be shown “live” online. To obtain the link for live viewing, go to Kara Peterman’s blog (http://cfsnees.blogspot.com/) on the morning of the final testing. However, only a limited number of users will be able to access the feed.


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