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Scientists testing an 'acoustic shield' to protect cities from earthquakes

Emily Price

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What if you could put a shield around your city to prevent it from being demolished in an earthquake? A group of French scientists think they've created a way to do just that, thanks to refraction (essentially changing the direction of the vibration). In an experiment, the group was able to create the shield using several five-meter-deep boreholes in the ground. When a quake hits, the holes redirect vibrations to a less-populated nearby area so they'll do less damage. The catch is, all that force has to head somewhere. And we're guessing there won't be many towns signing up to have a big city's quake headed their way instead.

Image Source: UN Photo/Logan Abassi

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