Are New York skyscrapers safe havens from earthquakes?

NEW YORK – New York's iconic skyscrapers, including the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center, remained undisturbed by the recent tremor that shook the city last Friday.

Despite the perception that these monumental structures could be especially susceptible to earthquakes, engineering experts say they are designed with the necessary flexibility. to withstand moderate shocks.

The earthquake, with a magnitude of 4.8, had its epicenter about 72 kilometers west of the city, in New Jersey, followed by aftershocks, including a magnitude 2.5 tremor on Saturday morning. However, no significant damage was reported to the public transportation system or the 1.1 million buildings that make up the Big Apple's urban landscape.

The operators of the emblematic Empire State Building, with its 103 floors, reassured the public with a message on social networks, ensuring that everything was in order after the seismic event.

According to Elisabeth MalschCEO of Thornton Tomasetti, a renowned engineering firm in New York, the city's skyscrapers are designed to withstand winds and other impacts much greater than earthquakes common on the East Coast.

Malsch explained that these buildings are less susceptible to earthquakes due to their design, which gives them flexibility that allows them to sway gently, something essential to resist powerful hurricane winds.

Although earthquakes are unlikely events for which these buildings are designed, Malsch noted that they are built to withstand them, even the oldest ones, which are made of high-strength concrete and steel to withstand their own gravitational load.

Ahmad Rahimiangeneral vice president of engineering firm WSP Global, also highlighted the safety of skyscrapers during earthquakes, arguing that they can be one of the safest places during such events.