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How Do Earthquakes Affect Airport Operations?  
User currently offlineEMAlad From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 449 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 4960 times:

I was just wondering after the earthquake in the UK last night (Yes is was only 5.3, lol) whether they affect operations at airports. Are approaching aircraft warned of the earthquake and possible aftershocks if they are approaching the runway, or would it not even bother them?

I know this might sound a daft question but I thought I would ask it  dopey 

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently onlineBrenintw From Taiwan, joined Jul 2006, 1644 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 4951 times:

I would imagine that the runways are usually closed for a short while to check for integrity. If any cracks are found, the runway may be closed for repairs (imagine the fun if that happened at LGW!)

Over here, we get an average of more than 100 earthquakes over 4 each year. Runways are built to withstand them.

Other than that, I don't think there's much point in warning aircraft -- an earthquake is seldom much longer lasting than a minute or so.



I'm tired of the A vs. B sniping. Neither make planes that shed wings randomly!
User currently offlineHalophila From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 646 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 4948 times:



Quoting Brenintw (Reply 1):
I would imagine that the runways are usually closed for a short while to check for integrity.

You got it. I know after our recent 5.4 earthquake in the bay area, SFO (and maybe OAK and SJC) were closed briefly and aircraft diverted, then the airport reopened once the runways were found to be safe. It's nothing like made out in that old '70's film "Earthquake"!



Flown on 707, 717, 727, 732 733 734 735 73G 738 739 741 742 743 744 74SP 757 753 762 763 772 773 77W D10 DC9 M11 M80 M87
User currently onlineAR385 From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 6204 posts, RR: 30
Reply 3, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 4911 times:
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After the 1985 MEX earthquake of 8.2, MEX closed from 7:25 AM to 9:00 PM After 9:00 PM the airport opened only one runway for special flights (relief, rescue or humanitarian flights) I believe MEX came back to 2 runway ops 48 hrs after the quake. Normal ops. resumed a bit after.


MGGS
User currently offlineB777A340Fan From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 774 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 4721 times:



Quoting Brenintw (Reply 1):
a short while

a short while? wouldn't it be at least couple hours to check an entire runway? or is it just a quick check to make sure no SIGINIFICANT cracks are made in the structure?

I saw couple years back a documentary on how one of the japanese airports (maybe NRT?) was built on some sort of giant springs so that when there's an earthquake, the entire airport would shake along with it so the stress would be aleviated from the airport's infrastructure... pretty amazing how architecture does wonders.


User currently offlineIsitsafenow From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4984 posts, RR: 23
Reply 5, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 4626 times:

I would guess it would shake things up pretty nicely.  duck 
safe  tongue 



If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
User currently offlineSFOnative From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 209 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4510 times:



Quoting EMAlad (Thread starter):
Yes is was only 5.3, lol

As a lifelong veteran of earthquakes, I would consider this a nice one actually! No, it probably wont bring down buildings, but it will certainly shatter a lot of nerves!  Sad


User currently offlineLitz From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1764 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4492 times:
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Quoting B777A340Fan (Reply 4):
wouldn't it be at least couple hours to check an entire runway? or is it just a quick check to make sure no SIGINIFICANT cracks are made in the structure?

I saw couple years back a documentary on how one of the japanese airports (maybe NRT?) was built on some sort of giant springs so that when there's an earthquake, the entire airport would shake along with it so the stress would be aleviated from the airport's infrastructure... pretty amazing how architecture does wonders.

I think they pretty much just send a truck down the length of the runway, looking for cracks or other damage.

the Japanese airport terminal has earthquake protection. The runways and taxiways do not.

If there is sufficient earth subsidence, it will crack and damage them.

Wasn't there an airport in the Northwest (maybe one of the seattle airports, or one of boeing's fields) that had damage following an earthquake?

- litz


User currently offlineEMAlad From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 449 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4388 times:

Yeah, a 5.3 earthquake in the middle of the night was pretty scary, seeing as we don't get many here.
It was about 45 miles from me and also it was felt over 100 miles away in the other direction. The only airports that were near were Humberside, Leeds/Bradford, EMA and Doncaster (Robinhood) I wonder if they sent a car to check the runway, although it was 1am!!!


User currently offlineBa1978 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2004, 185 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4375 times:

Living right under the approach to EMA, I can assure you there were still plenty of flights arriving straight after the earthquake. That would suggest they didn't close the runway at all for any kind of inspection. A flight came over immediately after the quake.


There are other ways and there's British Airways
User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25253 posts, RR: 85
Reply 10, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4368 times:
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Quoting SFOnative (Reply 6):
No, it probably wont bring down buildings, but it will certainly shatter a lot of nerves!  

I quite enjoy trembles like that. Living in New Zealand - the shaky isles - you get used to them.  

mariner

[Edited 2008-02-27 12:10:25]


aeternum nauta
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6385 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4344 times:

Well, in the Puget Sound 'quake of 2001, all of the windows in the tower cap at SEA were shattered...this can definitely disrupt operations for a few hours  Smile I talked to the guys who were in the tower cap at the time later (Washington State aviation convention in Puyallup, in '02). A news station broadcast some of the tapes from the tower when it happened, and, IIRC, you can actually hear one of the panes shatter while someone in the tower is broadcasting.

The FAA had to bring out their "temporary" tower (a glorified mobile home with a little mini tower cap on top) until repairs were made to the permanent tower cap.



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 25369 posts, RR: 49
Reply 12, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 4264 times:

Well LAX is well versed with earthquakes and has standard procedures.

Assuming its not a catastrophic one that clearly destroys significant infrastructure, there are required standard checks of runways, individual checks of critical facilities like fuel farms and tower followed by checks of less critical infrastructure like terminals, cargo warehouses etc.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineGkyip From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2006, 163 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 4208 times:
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Earthquakes happen all the time at airports when pilots make rough landings!  duck 

Seriously though, don't think they affect operations that much. Apart from the stated runway integrity checks, there must be checks on radio equipment and radar, but probably only after very strong earthquakes.

Last nights earthquake was fun though wasn't it! Don't get many here in the UK. Felt it here in Leeds and went flying from LBA the next day so obviously nothing at there was affected.

Gary



The strength of the turbulence is directly proportional to the temperature of your coffee
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25311 posts, RR: 22
Reply 14, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 4208 times:

The 7-storey tall reinforced concrete control tower at ANC airport collapsed in the big Alaska earthquake on March 27, 1964 (about 8.5 on the Richter scale). The one controller in the tower was killed. Not sure if there was any damage to runways etc.

http://libraryphoto.cr.usgs.gov/htmllib/batch74/batch74j/batch74z/ake00057.jpg
http://libraryphoto.cr.usgs.gov/htmllib/batch75/batch75j/batch75z/ake00240.jpg

I think a few other smaller Alaska airports had some damage, especially Kodiak, although most damage there was from several following Tsunamis that affected a huge area of the Pacific as far as Hawaii and South America.

Numerous other photos of damage from that quake here (source of the two photos above):
http://libraryphoto.cr.usgs.gov/cgi-...Alaska%20Earthquake%7C1964;start=0


User currently offlineA380US From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2358 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 4148 times:



Quoting Brenintw (Reply 1):
(imagine the fun if that happened at LGW!)

You single out LGW but wouldnt HR be worse?



www.JandACosmetics.com
User currently offlineReality From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 490 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 4124 times:

1989 Earthquake San Francisco--Loma Prieta

The major airports in San Francisco and Oakland suffered only moderate damage as a result of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake. At the Oakland Airport, liquefaction of hydraulic fill materials caused movement and cracking of dike sections along the shoreline of the airport, as well as extensive cracking and settlement of the northernmost 3,000 feet of the airport’s 10,000-foot main runway. However, the dikes were quickly repaired and runways were usable following the earthquake.

The only reported damage at the San Francisco Airport occurred at an air cargo freight building, at the control tower (window damage) and at the North Terminal of United Airlines (extensive water damage due to breakage of sprinkler heads). The airport was closed for approximately 12 hours after the earthquake in order to repair the damage to the control tower and to check the airport for other major damage.


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 4078 times:

Something else that an earthquake can adverse affect at an airport are the integrity of underground infrastucture like water mains for fire-fighting, and if the terminals are served by a hydrant fueling system (versus fuel trucks), the fuel piping between the gates and the airport's fuel farm. Likewise, the storage tanks at the fuel farm themselves, and the pipeline(s) that supply the tanks.

Obviously, the amount of actual damage (if any) depends on the strength and duration of the earthquake itself, but it takes a little time to check some of this stuff out.

I was working when the 1989 quake hit, and communications were the initial problem, since the phone lines were all jammed. We couldn't talk to the SFO or OAK stations on the phone, nor could we converse with our aircraft via radio on the ground or in the area. (We normally have the ability to dial-in to our VHF radios (which still worked) at the local stations, but couldn't get through due to the jammed lines.)

After 10 minutes of non-stop dialing, I finally got through to our OAK radio, and we used it to communicate with our ground personnel as well as flights on the ground and holding in the terminal area. We were also able to get a remote radio site near Mammoth mountain connected, and it provided widespread coverage since it was at a higher elevation.

If I recall correctly, most of our flights on the ground at OAK and SFO had already been fueled, so they were able to get airborne once the ramps, taxiways, and runways had been verified as OK. A couple of the flight hadn't been fueled, and I think they had enough remaining onboard when they landed to make it to RNO or FAT, and we hopped to one of those to get more fuel. For any of our flights to OAK and SFO that had not yet departed (due to the ground stop for the Bay area), we tankered as much fuel for the subsequent flight as we could, since we assumed we wouldn't have normal fuel available for awhile.

Glad it wasn't a foggy day down to landing minimums when it happened...  Wink


User currently offlineAlexinwa From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1150 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 4031 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 11):
Well, in the Puget Sound 'quake of 2001, all of the windows in the tower cap at SEA were shattered...this can definitely disrupt operations for a few hours I talked to the guys who were in the tower cap at the time later (Washington State aviation convention in Puyallup, in '02). A news station broadcast some of the tapes from the tower when it happened, and, IIRC, you can actually hear one of the panes shatter while someone in the tower is broadcasting.

The FAA had to bring out their "temporary" tower (a glorified mobile home with a little mini tower cap on top) until repairs were made to the permanent tower cap.

I cant remember how long it was closed but didn't a part of the runway at BFI "Liquefy" during that quake? and others parts got pushed up? Odd that the tower at SEA had such damage but no runway issues. And the opposite at BFI



You mad Bro???
User currently offlineCharlib52 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 164 posts, RR: 17
Reply 19, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3999 times:



Quoting Alexinwa (Reply 18):
I cant remember how long it was closed but didn't a part of the runway at BFI "Liquefy" during that quake? and others parts got pushed up? Odd that the tower at SEA had such damage but no runway issues. And the opposite at BFI

Yep -- there's some good photos of the SEA tower cab and BFI runway cracking at:

http://www.metrokc.gov/kcdot/roads/features/022806nisqually.cfm

I remember reading one report where the ground reportedly "oozed" through that crack in the BFI runway for a couple of hours.  Smile Which makes sense since all of Boeing Field is basically on a swamp/river fill right next to the bay.


User currently onlineBrenintw From Taiwan, joined Jul 2006, 1644 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3971 times:



Quoting A380US (Reply 15):
You single out LGW but wouldnt HR be worse?

I singled out LGW because it's one of the few airports I know of that has only one runway suited to WB operations. HR, I'm assuming is LHR, which has more runways suited for WB operation.

Knocking the R/W out at LGW would effectively shut the airport down for a long time.



I'm tired of the A vs. B sniping. Neither make planes that shed wings randomly!
User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3943 times:

What happens if an aircraft touches down at the very moment that an earthquake happens. Would the shifting and shaking of the runway have any impact on the aircrafts' ability to land?


There's always a better way to fly...
User currently onlineBrenintw From Taiwan, joined Jul 2006, 1644 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3916 times:



Quoting SQ772 (Reply 21):
What happens if an aircraft touches down at the very moment that an earthquake happens. Would the shifting and shaking of the runway have any impact on the aircrafts' ability to land?

SQ772, I've been driving on elevated expressways when we've had earthquakes larger than 4, and in all honesty, I didn't feel them at all. I doubt very much that the shaking would affect an aircraft, unless the aircraft was landing on the epicenter. Although I would doubt very much that would affect the aircraft that much either.

The actual physical movement of the earth's surface during an earthquake is relatively small. What does cause the damage is where the earth slides down the side of a mountain, or where man-made structures collapse because of lateral loadings that exceed what they're capapble of sustaining.



I'm tired of the A vs. B sniping. Neither make planes that shed wings randomly!
User currently offlineSQ772 From Singapore, joined Nov 2001, 1792 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3836 times:

Thanks Brenintw for the clarification. I've only experiences tremors when I am in the office, but never experienced them when I am at ground level. It does get a little scary when you feel the building sway and the floor below you shifting. I suppose those at the ground level or on the roads would hardly feel a thing if it's just minor tremors.


There's always a better way to fly...
User currently offlineDeltaflyertoo From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 1650 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 3784 times:



Quoting Brenintw (Reply 22):
SQ772, I've been driving on elevated expressways when we've had earthquakes larger than 4, and in all honesty, I didn't feel them at all. I doubt very much that the shaking would affect an aircraft, unless the aircraft was landing on the epicenter. Although I would doubt very much that would affect the aircraft that much either.

Just to add to this, living California most of my life, yeah, when driving you don't feel a thing. Unless you are driving on or near an epicenter of about a 6.5+ magnitude quake, you'll notice nothing. So I figue an airliners touching down at 140+mph with all its shocks and absorbers wouldn't notice anything at all.

Most earthquakes are barely noticeable most of the time, and, in CA anyway, by the time you figure out that you are having one they are over. If you were to move here for like 10 years you'd find that the vast majority of them are very slight rocking where you notice some door slightly rattling in their hinges, or windows creaking and a sublte movement of the room for like 5 seconds. If you are in a busy office environment w/ phones ringing or a lot of people at home talking and a tv you won't notice it. GRANTED about once every 10 years we do get a rather larger one where indeed no matter what you are doing you noticed everything moving (or falling) but alas LA has been free of any of those since 94....knock on wood!


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