Seismic tests usually involve either a scale simulation of an earthquake or a computer-generated one, neither of which can fully replicate the kind of shaking a real tremor dishes out. When engineers want to test a new joint, a connector, or a foundation piling against the violence of seismic activity, they can now plop the real thing onto UC San Diego’s Large High Performance Outdoor Shake Table. The biggest in the country, it can subject a 400-ton payload to 1.2 Gs, the high end of recorded seismic movement.
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