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[Cob] Coblist Digest, Earthquake test

Dean Sherwin costman at
Tue Apr 1 17:07:47 CDT 2008

Very interesting, it is great to have real technology applied to earth and other traditional methods.

I recall the destruction of Bam in Iran, that was earth buildings that collapsed in dust with much loss of life.  How big was that earthquake, anyone know ? 
 Is there anything in your construction that makes it more earthquake proof? (Looks like the stucco helped) No doubt you have researched other work in this area, there was a conference a year or two ago.  There is a professor who has done work in Peru with reinforcement, it is pretty convincing (I can find the name if necessary)
My guess is that the round design makes your structure much stronger.  Most buildings are rectangular for several resons.  I would think that in scaling, the 1/2 scale would make the circular shape about 4 times as strong as full size but that is a total hunch based on quite different model testing I have done.
No doubt the engineering department boffs are on top of all that.
Dean Sherwin

   1. earthquake test video (Ian Marcuse)


Message: 1
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2008 01:17:33 -0700
From: Ian Marcuse <dtebb at>
Subject: [Cob] earthquake test video
To: coblist at
Message-ID: <p0623098fc4179e7ec074@[]>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" ; format="flowed"

Dear Cobbers,

Finally after many years (we have been rather busy), we have some 
video footage up on our website showing our cob model undergoing 
siesmic testing at the University of British Columbia. It was an 
important test, the only such test done as far as we know on cob 
(though some testing on earthen structures was supposedly done in 
Iran, though we have no confirmation of this).

The model was finally inflicted with a 2 g force shake, over 9 on the 
richter and did break apart, though much of the structure was still 
standing, which in a quake of this magnitude is very good as most 
buildings would collapse.
Scroll down to cob siesmic test video


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End of Coblist Digest, Vol 6, Issue 36