Why the library renovation is ... earthquake-proof?
By Steven Sandor | December 1, 2020
When the renovated Stanley A. Milner opened to the public, architect Stephen Teeple spoke about the amount of work needed to upgrade the support structure of the building.
Why? Because when the library opened in 1967, building codes didn’t require the earthquake-readiness measures that are needed in 2020.
“Edmonton is in a higher seismic zone than it (the library) was originally designed for,” Teeple said. “It didn’t meet code for seismic collapse … now, you can come here and be safe.”
According to University of Alberta Faculty of Science professor (and seismologist) Jeffrey Gu, based on the history of earthquakes in Edmonton in the last 20 years, and the published seismic hazard maps, the risk of a major and damaging earthquake is relatively low. At this time, Edmontonians shouldn’t be overly concerned about The Big One.
“I don’t think there’s an imminent risk to Edmonton,” he says. “Edmonton has been quite pleasant, and that continues to be the case.”
There have been other regions in Alberta — Fox Creek, Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House — that have endured minor shakers over the past ten years.
But, as Gu points out, Edmonton is in the light brown zone (lowest risk) on Natural Resources Canada’s simplified seismic hazard map, which was last updated in 2015. What does being light brown mean? It means that there’s less than a one per cent chance over 50 years that we’d get a “seismic event” that generates the G-forces necessary to, well, shake anything up. So, we’re light brown until the next update … in 2065.