Posted by: walkingthefault | October 1, 2008

Nonsense in the Newspaper

Finally, the Memorial Stadium Oak Grove has been cut down, the tree sitters are gone, and work is moving ahead on the strengthening of Memorial Stadium and the building of the new Sports Complex alongside. No longer do we have to read about the nonsense going on between protesters and politicians at the site.

But beware, there is other nonsense going on. Even more alarming nonsense. It would appear that either the University Engineering planners, or the San Francisco Chronicle, or both, don’t seem to know which way the Pacific Plate is moving in relation to the North American Plate.

To reiterate here, the Pacific Plate is moving in a North-West direction, and the North American Plate is moving, relatively speaking, in a South-East direction. All of the evidence points to this, and anybody who says otherwise is nuts.

In an article recently, the San Francisco Chronicle described how the west part of Memorial Stadium is sitting on the Pacific Plate, and moving south, and the east part is sitting on the North American Plate, and moving north. Really! I’m not kidding! Read all about it in this article.

As soon as I saw that I sent in a recommendation to the Chronicle for a correction. Thus far they have declined to print one, leading me to believe that the source documents from the University used by the Chronicle as a basis for their article are also wrong.

The article describes in great detail how the stadium will be retrofitted by slicing it into blocks and putting it on plastic sheets so that it will slide nicely and gently in the next earthquake. Honest! That’s what they are planning. But they don’t even understand in which direction way the ground will move in the coming earthquake!

Here’s the paragraph from the Chronicle, nonsense in italics, lifted verbatim from the article:

“The eastern half is built into the hillside and does not need to be retrofitted. But the western half, with its Beaux Arts flourishes and spectacular views of the hills and bay, rests precariously on landfill over a creekbed. Its concrete walls are cracked and strained, as the Pacific Plate – which is under Sections M through XX – inches south and the North American Plate – under Sections MM through X – creeps north.”

Scary, truly scary.

There’s a very good recent article about Memorial Stadium and its retrofit in Andrew Alden’s Oakland Geology journal. In the comments below that article Andrew mentions the San Francisco Chronicle article, but if he spotted that error, he doesn’t mention it.

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