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Plans to Physically Move Utah's 67-ton Capitol Building

August 11 2003 at 9:46 PM
roger  (no login)

Response to Utah questions


I know it's not quite a Kings Peak item, but today was this amazing story about moving the Utah capitol to protect it against the "overdue" 7.3+ quake.
Although strong Utah earthquakes are infrequent, separated by hundreds of years, the record shows them to be fairly regular -- and particularly violent. In an instant they can raise the Wasatch mountains 10 feet and drop the valley by five, ripping open the land like a zipper.

The Utah Capitol could be riding the next big earthquake like a ship at sea after engineers hoist the 67,500-ton marble building and drop it on a set of shock absorbers.

The digging will start in December 2004, and the work will last four years.
"If people can walk out alive, that's the objective we're after," says Jerod Johnson, a structural engineer for Salt Lake City's Reaveley firm, among 14 companies that have a piece of the Capitol's $200 million restoration.

Only gravity is holding up Utah's statehouse, which for 89 years has been waiting to crumble like a Roman ruin. The occupants -- Gov. Mike Leavitt and his executive staff, the treasurer and other state officers plus a part-time Legislature -- can only hope to get out in time.
"The Big One is of a lot of interest," said Gary Christenson of the Utah Geological Survey. "We don't like to use the word overdue, but it could occur anytime."

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