Saturday Morning Science Experiment: Practicing safe earthquake

Two models of a 12-story building are tested on a shake table. The one on the right is supported by a base isolation system, which effectively puts a shock-absorbing barrier between the building's foundation and potentially shaky ground. In fact, during the tests, which took place in 2007, this particular base isolation system, called Earthquake Protector, turned out to be many times more effective than any other system then known.

There are three trials on the video. Watch it through to the end for the final fall.

Learn more at the Network for Earthquake Engineering

Thumbnail is a USGS photo taken in San Francisco after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. This is the kind of damage that could cause a building to collapse. Technology like base isolation systems can prevent it.