Dubai goes extra mile to make city earthquake proof

While there is a very low risk of an earthquake in Dubai, the emirate ensures that there are extra precautionary measures in place.

This week the UAE was shaken up by three earthquakes in the sea off Oman and Iran. Although the earthquakes took place 25 to 200 km off the coast, tremors were felt on land.

With hundreds of high-rises compactly built along the skylines of especially the western emirates, one might wonder; is Dubai earthquake proof?

Dubai is more than earthquake proof, it is even safer than is recommended, explains Kamal Mohamed Atiya, Seismology Specialist at the Crustal Movement Team of the Survey Department - Geodesy & Hydrographic Survey Section.

“Dubai applies Zone 2a measures, which correspond to a ground movement of 0,15g (UBC97), while recent studies indicate that Dubai is located in Zone 0 corresponding to 0,075g (UBC97).

“This means that all buildings in Dubai are safer than they need to be. Dubai has decided to take extra safety measures.”

According to Kamal, Dubai is a low-risk city when it comes to earthquake hazards. While there is a historically low earthquake activity, the effect of the possible earthquakes is minor.

“Since 1900 the highest magnitude has been 5, and a magnitude 5 earthquake will only cause minor cracks in the buildings.

But building contractors are required to follow the strict rules of Dubai Municipality. “Earth movement studies are available and presented to the engineer before he starts constructing the building.

It is then up to the engineer to respond to these studies in providing the safest structure,” explains Kamal.

“Buildings with less than 10 floors are not at a very high risk anyway. It is about the high-rise buildings. But even the wind can cause hazards than a possible earthquake.”

(Home page image courtesy Shutterstock)

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