The ExxonMobil Corp. oil refinery in Torrance, California, experienced an explosion on 18 February 2015, causing ground shaking equivalent to a magnitude 2.0 earthquake. The impulse response for the source was computed from Southern California Seismic Network data for a single force system with a value of 2 × 105 kN vertically downward. The refinery explosion produced an air pressure wave that was recorded 22.8 km away in a 52-story high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles by a dense accelerometer array that is a component of the Community Seismic Network. The array recorded anomalous waveforms on each floor displaying coherent arrivals that are consistent with the building's elastic response to a pressure wave caused by the refinery explosion. Using a finite-element model of the building, the force on the building on a floor-by-floor scale was found to range up to 1.42 kN, corresponding to a pressure perturbation of 7.7 Pa.
Downtown Los Angeles 52-Story High-Rise and Free-Field Response to an Oil Refinery Explosion
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Monica D. Kohler, Anthony Massari, Thomas H. Heaton, Hiroo Kanamori, Egill Hauksson, Richard Guy, Robert W. Clayton, Julian Bunn, K. M. Chandy; Downtown Los Angeles 52-Story High-Rise and Free-Field Response to an Oil Refinery Explosion. Earthquake Spectra 2016;; 32 (3): 1793–1820. doi: https://doi.org/10.1193/062315EQS101M
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