Using T-Rex to test for The Big One


LONGVIEW, Wash. (KOIN) — Earthquake researchers created an earthquake Friday in Longview, all in an effort to test response when The Big One hits.

This machine, dubbed T-Rex, is used to simulate earthquakes for scientific tests, June 24, 2016 (KOIN)

Earthquake awareness and preparedness has become a priority in the Pacific Northwest. Scientists now know how our region could react thanks to a machine called the T-Rex.

Scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Texas gathered in Longview Friday brought an earthquake with them. They caused lateral shaking, lowered sensors into the ground and measured liquefaction — when shaking in the ground ramps up the soil’s water pressure and caused the soil to collapse on itself.

The goal is to learn more about how Northwest ground would react to a major natural disaster — specifically The Big One. Engineers can use the new data to design buildings built to withstand significant earthquakes.

Earthquake test results from a scientific research project in Longview, June 24, 2016 (KOIN)
Earthquake test results from a scientific research project in Longview, June 24, 2016 (KOIN)

The soil tested Friday actually performed pretty well. The liquefaction scientists saw was less than they expected.

But that doesn’t mean our entire area would behave the same way. One localized spot may react differently than another portion of land.

Research teams will keep testing the soil in the surrounding areas through this weekend trying to find a standard for how our soil reacts.

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