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Mexico earthquake: Why did only some buildings collapse?

from BBC News

After Mexico's 7.1-magnitude quake, some buildings have collapsed while others, often right next door, remain standing. Why? The first factor is that the soil is not the same in every place underneath Mexico City. Much of the centre of town is built on the sediment of ancient lakes, making the soil loose. When an earthquake strikes, it makes that particular soil vulnerable to shaking like jelly, prolongs the earthquake, and makes the buildings directly above it shake. more


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