University of Nevada Expands Earthquake Lab

There’s a whole lot of shakin’ going on at the University of Nevada, Reno.

UNR’s seismic simulation facility became the largest in the United States and second largest in the world this week with an expansion that included moving three new 27-ton shake table tops into the school’s new Earthquake Engineering Laboratory.

UNR civil engineering professor David Sanders tells the Reno Gazette-Journal that it will allow them to test things they haven’t been able to test before.

The shake table tops, called platens, are very large and strong surfaces onto which structures are attached and then shaken to determine their ability to withstand damage from earthquakes. Among other things, scientists use them to test new techniques for building safer bridges, highways and housing.