When the Champlain Towers East building collapsed only a single low-quality security camera on a nearby tower captured the unfolding disaster. Along with a few other clues—a cameraphone clip showing water in the garage moments before, photos of rotting concrete and exposed rebar—it was crucial in helping build an early understanding of how the collapse happened. Nearly a month later, detailed and credible computer simulations are appearing, calibrated to the indistinct footage. [Laurea University of Applied Sciences]
On the 24th of June 2021 at night the Champlain Towers South, a 12-story beachfront condominium in the Miami suburb of Surfside, Florida collapsed partially. This collapse simulation was made based on the presently available data, eyewitness, and video accounts. …
This study demonstrates the collapse mechanism assuming the following plausible hypothesis: According to the data, the basement deck showed signs of extended soaking for many years. The problem was locally insufficiently patched and not rectified in its entirety. The wetting caused the deck ceiling to be weakened to such an extent that basement pillars punched through the deck where additional load had peaked at the planter area.
The simulation doesn't quite correspond to reality in one respect: the eastern wing remains teetering for a few seconds in the real footage, but is brought down faster by the collapsing center in the model.
I'm fascinated by these (as with similar recreations and simulations of the 9/11 attacks), not least because of how dehumanizing the means are to the very human end of understanding.
Here's the same researchers' simulation of the Aricebo Telescope collapse: