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Engineers construct model hospital for quake test

San Francisco Chronicle / Associated Press, April 18, 2012

What happens when a series of massive earthquakes hits a five-story medical facility with an intensive care unit, operating room and elevator? Structural engineers at UC San Diego began tests Tuesday to find out. Over the next two weeks, they will repeatedly rock an 80-foot-high building erected on a giant shake table as part of a $5 million experiment funded by government agencies, foundations and others. The project stands out because researchers are studying what happens to items inside the building—such as elevators, stairs, lights and medical equipment—rather than just the building's structure.