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Published by: raj_ferrari on Apr 29, 2010
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How to make Stone Masonry Buildings Earthquake Resistant? 
Earthquake Tip 
LearningEarthquake DesignandConstruction
Behaviour during Past India Earthquakes
Stone has been used in building construction inIndia since ancient times since it is durable and locallyavailable. There are huge numbers of stone buildingsin the country, ranging from rural houses to royalpalaces and temples. In a typical rural stone house,there are thick stone masonry walls (thickness rangesfrom 600 to 1200 mm) built using rounded stones fromriverbeds bound with mud mortar. These walls areconstructed with stones placed in a random manner,and hence do not have the usual layers (or
)seen in brick walls. These uncoursed walls have twoexterior vertical layers (called
) of large stones,filled in between with loose stone rubble and mudmortar. A typical
uncoursed random
) stonemasonry wall is illustrated in Figure 1. In many cases,these walls support heavy roofs (for example, timberroof with thick mud overlay).Laypersons may consider such stone masonrybuildings robust due to the large wall thickness androbust appearance of stone construction. But, thesebuildings are one of the most deficient buildingsystems from earthquake-resistance point of view. Themain deficiencies include excessive wall thickness,absence of any connection between the two wythes ofthe wall, and use of
stones (instead of
ones). Such dwellings have shown very poorperformance during past earthquakes in India andother countries (
Greece, Iran, Turkey, formerYugoslavia). In the 1993 Killari (Maharashtra)earthquake alone, over 8,000 people died, most ofthem buried under the rubble of traditional stonemasonry dwellings. Likewise, a majority of the over13,800 deaths during 2001 Bhuj (Gujarat) earthquake isattributed to the collapse of this type of construction.The main patterns of earthquake damage include:(a) bulging/separation of walls in the horizontaldirection into two distinct
(Figure 2a), (b)separation of walls at corners and T-junctions (Figure2b), (c) separation of poorly constructed roof fromwalls, and eventual collapse of roof, and (d)disintegration of walls and eventual collapse of thewhole dwelling.
Earthquake Resistant Features
 Low strength stone masonry buildings are weakagainst earthquakes, and should be avoided in highseismic zones. The Indian Standard IS:13828-1993states that inclusion of special earthquake-resistantdesign and construction features may raise theearthquake resistance of these buildings and reducethe loss of life. However, in spite of the seismicfeatures these buildings may not become totally freefrom heavy damage and even collapse in case of amajor earthquake. The contribution of the each ofthese features is difficult to quantify, but qualitativelythese features have been observed to improve theperformance of stone masonry dwellings during pastearthquakes. These features include:
Figure 1: Schematic of the wall section of atraditional stone house
– thick walls without stones that go across split into 2 vertical layers 
Outward bulgingof vertical walllayer
Half-dressedoblong stonesVertically splitlayer of wallMud mortar
(b) Separation of unconnected adjacent walls at  junctions 
Figure 2: Major concerns in a traditional stonehouse
– deficiencies in walls, roof and in their connections have been prime causes for failure 
Vertically split layerof wall
Vertical gap
(a) Separation of a thick wall into two layers 

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