Taipei building too much for earth to bear?
December 2, 2005 5:01 PM PST
A geologist says Taipei has seen more earthquakes since a huge skyscraper was built in the Taiwanese capital city and suggests the trend may not be a coincidence. Construction on Taipei 101, the 1,667-foot behemoth, began in 1997.
Historically, Taiwan is very earthquake prone, but Taipei itself is not because it sits on the western boundary of the Phillippine Sea plate, according to a Reuters report. But that has changed in recent years, and Lin Cheng-horng, a geologist at the Institute of Earth Sciences at a prestigious think tank in Taiwan, thinks it may be due to the enormous amount of stress Taipei 101 exerts on the ground below it.
Taipei 101 weighs about 700,000 tons
, but whether or not that is enough of a burden to actually strain the earth's outer crust is up for debate. Cheng-horng is the first to admit that scientific evidence showing a correlation is scant at best. But with record-breaking skyscrapers being built at a quickening pace (Samsung's Burj Tower in Dubai is planned to reach a staggering 2,625 feet), he argues that further research into the matter is critical.