Seismic Cloak

April 13, 2018 11:09 am

seismic cloak

Can trees and buildings act as seismic cloaks to shield cities from earthquakes?

While it sounds like science fiction, scientists from Europe and the United States are researching the idea.  The theory is based on findings that trees can absorb and then dissipate seismic waves.  Initial experiments showed that as vibrations passed underground, the trees absorbed some of the waves and dissipated the energy of the wave.  The experiment also showed that the larger the trees and denser they are together, the more seismic waves are dissipated.  While the trees are able to successfully cancel the seismic waves, a real earthquake would require a great number of much larger trees, such as California redwoods.   While it may not be feasible or time efficient to plant forests of large trees where protection from earthquakes is needed, the same researchers are examining the idea of using buildings and structures that would have the same effect.  The buildings and structures could also be used to channel the seismic waves around the protected area.  Mitigating the damage of an earthquake to hospitals, major bridges and nuclear power plant, could save many lives.

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