East Bay building demo to create quake-sized shockwave

August 14, 2013 5:52:40 PM PDT
High atop an East Bay hill is a 13-story landmark -- and it's coming down this weekend. Warren Hall at Cal State East Bay could collapse in an earthquake and that's why its scheduled for an implosion on Saturday morning.

This weekend, the Warren Hall Administration Building will fall so that others may live. The event is so big that Cal State East Bay will be closed all weekend and when the building falls, the closest people will be around 1,400 feet away.

Crews spent all day Wednesday installing explosives for Saturday's sudden and crashing end to what some saw as an ivory tower and what others saw as an eyesore.

If you live in the neighborhoods below or saw it from the freeway, Warren Hall served as both a visual and an academic aid, but it was also the most seismically-unstable building in the entire California State University system -- a fact that makes the secondary purpose of this implosion a bit ironic.

When the building topples, scientists anticipate a shockwave equal to a 2.0 earthquake, hence the presence of the United States Geological Survey, which will place sensors in nearby neighborhoods and as far as 25 miles away.

Structural geologist Luther Strayer, Ph.D., identified this as an excellent opportunity to study the dangerous Hayward Fault, which passes just a few hundred feet away. He thought about this in terms of being able to schedule and monitor a small earthquake.

"Yeah, they happen all the time, but they don't happen when you want them to. This is an event that we know when it's going to happen. We know where it's going to happen exactly, therefore we can use the geometry," he said.

"I believe it's probably going to start the big one," one resident told ABC7 News.

That's not likely, but after Saturday's demise of Warren Hall, we may have a better idea of what to expect when the big one does hit. All it took was the demise of a local landmark.

ABC7 News will be streaming the implosion live on Saturday at 9 a.m.


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