Earth Tremor: Don seeks adherence to building codes, structural design


Ishaya Sunday, a lecturer, Department of Geography and Environmental  Management,  University of Abuja has called for strict compliance with building codes and other structural designs to prevent building collapse during earth tremor.

The don made the call in Gwagwalada while speaking against the backdrop of the earth tremor that happened in Mpape and some parts of Maitama District of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

According to him, tremors are caused by involuntary movement of earth surface, owing to stress in the underground rocks and earthquakes,by rocks breaking under stress called “fault plane”.

“We advise the public to follow the building codes so that they design structures that can withstand collapse during earth tremor and vibrations.

“If buildings are on soft ground such as old river sediments, the intensity experienced may be one to two units higher, if on solid rock, it may be one unit lower.

“The intensity with which vibration is felt may also be higher on hilltops, because earth tremor and earthquake are signs of seismic movement within the earth.

“Apart from causing shake, vibrations of magnitude 4.0 or greater may also trigger landslides which can cause casualties,” he explained.

The don also cautioned that construction of buildings in wetlands and hilltops should follow the right criteria to prevent collapse during such occurrences.

He added that areas which had water-saturated sediments beneath them, large vibrations, usually with a magnitude 6.0 or greater, might cause liquefaction (a process by which something becomes liquid).

“The vibration causes the wet sediment to become quicksand and flow which can as well cause a tsunami.

“When the earth begins to sink, this may cause buildings to topple and the sediment may erupt at the surface from craters and fountains.”

The lecturer also advised that people in their houses should locate to a safe room and take cover under desk or tables and stay away from glasses in the event of earth  tremor re-occurrence.

According to him, people outside their houses should stay on a clear spot far from riverside, buildings, trees and electric poles connected to cables  when such phenomenon happens.