Sun, Sep 11, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Taipei map shows areas at risk of soil liquefaction

LANDMARKS AT RISK:Taipei 101 and Taipei City Hall have been built in areas that have a high probability of soil liquefaction, the city government map shows

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

A new skyscraper yesterday rises next to Taipei 101 in the city’s Xinyi District, an area at high risk of soil liquefaction, according to a map published the Taipei City Government.

Photo: Hsu Yi-ping, Taipei Times

The Taipei City Government yesterday unveiled a map showing areas in the city prone to soil liquefaction, with 26.1 percent of the city having intermediate to high-level soil liquefaction potential.

Soil liquefaction is a geological phenomenon that occurs when shaking during an earthquake causes saturated granular material to behave like a liquid, potentially causing soil to be unable to support structures above it.

Soil liquefaction has become a prominent issue, as it is believed to have contributed to the collapse of the Weiguan Jinlong complex in Tainan that killed 115 people when a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit the city on Feb. 6.

The city government map showed that 17.4 percent of Taipei is highly prone to soil liquefaction, while 8.7 percent and 1.5 percent of the city face intermediate and low risks of liquefaction respectively.

The Taipei Department of Public Works said 54.4 percent of the municipality is in mountainous areas, which are not at risk of liquefaction, while another 3.5 percent of land has not displayed any potential for liquefaction.

Liquefaction potential of 14.5 percent of the city could not be determined due to insufficient data.

Notable landmarks that were identified by the map as in areas showing a high probability of soil liquefaction include Taipei 101 and the Taipei City Hall.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) home on Xinyi Road was also found to be in an area showing a high risk of soil liquefaction.

In response to reporters’ questions about whether he was concerned about his home being vulnerable to earthquakes, Ko said he was not, as it was built after the 921 Earthquake in 1999.

He said that construction regulations introduced after the 921 Earthquake mandate sufficient seismic engineering work be carried out on new buildings.

He called on residents whose homes are deemed vulnerable to earthquakes to file a request with the city government to be part of the city’s urban renewal projects.

The department urged people not to panic if their homes are found to be in areas susceptible to liquefaction, as they might be eligible for an “old building health check” performed by the city’s Construction Management Office and receive subsidies if urban renewal efforts are deemed necessary for their homes.

Compared with the Executive Yuan’s query system for soil liquefaction potential, the map features a larger scale and is five times more accurate, the department said.

Residents can find out about the risk of soil liquefaction in their neighborhoods by entering their addresses on the city’s soil liquefaction query system: http://soil2.taipei/gismap.html.

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