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I'm writing a sci-fi story that involves exploring a

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Hi. I'm writing a...
Hi. I'm writing a sci-fi story that involves exploring a crumbling, long-abandoned city and a series of earthquakes. An obvious choice for a climax would be to have a skyscraper collapse, not neatly as in a controlled take down, but just as a result of instability and neglect. But I don't have any engineering background at all and had very little physics in school. So, while I can imagine what that might look like, I'm really hoping someone could give me at least a broad idea of what that might look and sound like. And maybe how far dust, glass and metal might fly in such a situation.
Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Structural Engineering
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I probably should have said that I don't need really detailed information. I just need to know enough so that I don't write something that's physically impossible. Thanks in advance.
Answered in 19 hours by:
12/21/2017
Structural Engineer: SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS replied 7 months ago
SpecialistMichael
Category: Structural Engineering
Satisfied Customers: 508
Experience: Senior Information Specialist
Verified

Hi there,

I have a couple of questions in hoping to provide some unique advice and get you some really solid context for which to develop the story. While not an engineer I have a very strong background in physical sciences, physics and mathematics and various manufacturing materials.

A few things to consider:
The building material and framing
The height
What age each of these building are and the spacing between them.

Could you provide me a little bit of information on your city idea and we can expand it together.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thanks for responding. I'm sorry I didn't think to include that information the first time. I'd say the building should be somewhere around 650 to 800 feet high. Tall but far from the Burj Khalifa. The premise calls for the age to be uncertain, possibly hundreds of years old and abandoned for most of that time. I hadn't worked out construction materials for my 'world' but probably something similar to our concrete, steel and glass constructions of the 20th Century. As things stand I have written it as being in the middle of a cluster of similar buildings in an abandoned city, in an area that's subject to frequent small quakes and experienced a larger, 5 to 6 point quake just days before. Will that be enough?
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thanks for the offer to call, but I really do prefer to type. I can edit what I've typed before I send it. If we were on the phone, I'd drive you crazy with the way I think. Right brain all the way, I'm afraid.
Customer reply replied 6 months ago
I just realized that I may have made you very nervous. I hope not because I really am writing and have no interest whatsoever in how or why a building might come down deliberately. But, I can understand how, these days, you might prefer not to answer. If so let me know. The great thing about building with words is that it only costs a little time to scrap one idea and come up with another one. Thanks again.
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