California earthquake: MICROBES could save buildings from Big One – ‘Time is running out’
ASU’s Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Edward Kavaznajian, is at the forefront of developing solutions to protect natural and built environments from the potentially devastating impacts of earthquakes — including the powerful tsunamis they’ve triggered. One of the center’s researchers, Associate Professor Leon van Paassen, explains the techniques being developed to sufficiently stabilize soils to enable them to withstand shocks from earthquakes. One method involves injecting nutrients into the ground to be consumed by microbes. That causes the microbes to generate nitrogen gas bubbles that could significantly dampen ground vibrations during earthquakes, and thus prevent damage to structures standing on those soils — especially cities built on loosely compacted soils that can liquefy during a strong quakes.