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Liquefaction

30th June 2017

Reports are still coming in that given the right conditions

you will get this effect

This is liquefaction in action

You get liquefaction during an earthquake where the low-lying ground is being shaken and in these circumstances the water content rises to the top and brings with it that portion of the solid ground that has been shaken into mud, this water saturated ground is no longer rigid enough to support any weight and the foundations of the buildings are destroyed.

 Vehicles just sink into the ground and because the movement is not uniform pipes and cables together with sewers and ducts are broken and become useless, the other problem is that this mud then solidifies as the water evaporates filling any underground spaces and setting much like concrete.

This shows the process

An earthquake occurred in Christchurch on 22 February 2011 at 12:51 p.m. local time and registered 6.3 on the Richter scale. Not a particularly large earthquake but it was very shallow being relatively close to the surface and this always causes the local vicinity to suffer more severe damage. This combined with the fact that the city had a high water table was disastrous for Christchurch. South Island, New Zealand

The pictures on this page are all from that particular earthquake

There were many large buildings destroyed, hotels and big businesses included. The Cathedral in the city centre was so severely damaged that it had to be demolished, the main tower collapsed during the earthquake, you may have heard of the cardboard Cathedral that was built as a temporary replacement.

Many people suffered severe trauma and financial loss but less than 200 actually lost their lives during the earthquake, it will however take many years before Christchurch gets back to normal some say it will never be the same again.

Liquefaction on this scale is quite rare and in some people’s opinion the city should be moved from the site to somewhere close by with a much more stable ground formation, I think this idea has been vetoed as they are rebuilding everywhere just as fast as they can.

Earthquakes are not the only hazard that you have to consider when you’re thinking of building or buying property, builders in England these days can get planning permission to build on what is obviously a floodplain, with the prospect of deteriorating weather and sea levels rising it’s a question of buyer beware.

I sincerely hope that future property owners you take these points into consideration to ensure that whatever you buy as adequate flood protection because I rather fancy you are going to need it.

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