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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 18:11 GMT
Tallest tower 'may cause quakes'
By Caroline Gluck
BBC News, Taipei

Taipei 101 tower (archive picture)
The 101-storey Taipei 101 was built to the highest safety standards
A Taiwanese geologist has said the huge weight of the world's tallest building, Taipei 101, could be responsible for triggering a rise in seismic activity.

Lin Cheng-horng suggests ground stress from the 508m-tall building may have reopened an ancient earthquake fault.

This could be the reason for what he says is a recent sharp increase in seismic activity in the Taipei basin.

Writing in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters, he urges further investigation and monitoring.

Mr Lin says the 101-storey skyscraper, which was completed a year ago and is anchored by enormous concrete and steel columns, may have reactivated a fault line.

According to Mr Lin, it weighs 700,000 metric tons and exerts a stress on the ground below of 4.7 bars - some of which would be transferred to the earth's upper crust due to extremely soft sedimentary rocks beneath the Taipei basin.

'Not to blame'

Taiwan is one of the most earthquake-prone places in the world, which is why, when the idea of building the huge structure was first raised, rigorous safety and geological surveys were carried out.

The concrete steel and glass building in the country's capital was then designed to the most exacting safety standards.

A spokesman for the Taipei Financial Centre Corporation, which owns the building, said he was confident that Taipei 101 was not to blame for an increase in earthquakes.

Recent tremors were caused by seismic activity in other parts of the island or offshore, he said.

He called the report interesting, but pointed out that Taipei 101 was at least 200m away from the Taipei fault, which has not been active for more than 45,000 years.

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