NEHRP Clearinghouse

Title
Engineering Features of the Santa Barbara Earthquake of August 13, 1978.
File
PB295058.pdf
Author(s)
Miller, R. K.; Felszeghy, S. F.
Source
National Science Foundation, Washington, DC. Applied Science and Research Applications., December 1978, 136 p.
Identifying Number(s)
UCSB-ME-78-2
Abstract
Several features of the Santa Barbara earthquake were unusual and interesting from an engineering point of view: the geographical asymmetry of strong ground shaking; the large peak accelerations recorded by strong motion instruments; and the differences in reported magnitudes for the event. This earthquake also provided a picture of the performance of modern California buildings in a moderate earthquake. Preliminary investigations of some of these features are presented in this report. None of the hospitals, fire and police stations, or public schools in the area of the strong shaking received serious damage. An emergency power supply system fueled by natural gas was activated at the Goleta Valley Community Hospital. If the earthquake had severed the gas lines, however, the system would not have been functional. Emergency systems should not rely on public utilities. An area where public school safety could be improved is in anchoring of acoustical ceilings to prevent their collapse, and in using fasteners to lock light fixture diffusers positively in place. Wood and steel structures generally sustained less severe damage than concrete and masonry structures, although some well-designed reinforced concrete structures survived with no apparent damage. The most common form of structural damage sustained by multistory buildings consisted of diagonal cracking of shear walls, particularly those aligned along the north-south direction and in the lower stories.
Keywords
Ground motion; Damage assessment; Buildings; Earthquake engineering; Santa Barbara (California); Earthquake resistant structures; Transportation; Earthquakes; Soil dynamics; Earth movements; Utilities; California; Seismic waves