FearOfPhysics.com: How Shaking Motion Can Destroy Structures
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How Shaking Motion Can Destroy Structures

This page addresses the destructive nature of earthquakes. Take a look at the bridge model below. It has two towers, two supports made of springs, and is attached to "the ground." (The bridge is supposed to look like the Golden Gate Bridge.)

Notice how "the shaker" is connected to "the ground." The shaker can shake the ground by the same amount, but at different speeds. In other words, the shaker can only shake the ground about one inch left and right, but can do so at two different speeds, fast and slow.

Here is the shaker working at the fast and slow speeds:

Fast Shake
Slow Shake

So imagine the shaker is an earthquake that the bridge must experience. The question is...

What shaking speed do you think is more destructive to the bridge, a fast shake, or a slow shake?
What do you think? Is a fast or slow shake more destructive?

A fast shake is more destructive.

A slow shake is more destructive.

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