HAYWARD, Calif. -- It took just seconds for a 13-storey building overlooking San Francisco Bay to implode, spewing smoke and chunks of concrete as it crumbled into a heap of rubble. But U.S. Geological Survey scientist Rufus Catchings was marvelling less at the visual spectacle than what he could feel with his feet.
As the building collapsed, the vibrations Catchings noted told him a novel experiment to study one of the most dangerous fault lines in the country likely was a success.
On Saturday, workers imploded Warren Hall, on the Cal State East Bay campus. Scientists turned its destruction into a valuable tool in their ongoing efforts to understand the earthquakes that have shaped California.