Taipei 101 in Taiwan is the world’s biggest building. The stress it exerts on the ground beneath it is believed to have caused two recent earthquakes and reopened an old fault line.
Before the construction of Taipei 101, the Taipei basin was a very stable area with no active earthquake faults at the surface. Its earthquake activity was similar to parts of the UK, with micro-earthquakes (less than magnitude 2) happening about once a year.However, once Taipei 101 started to rise from the ground, things changed. “The number of earthquakes increased to around two micro-earthquakes per year during the construction period (1997 to 2003).”Since the construction finished there have been two larger earthquakes (magnitude 3.8 and 3.2) directly beneath Taipei 101, which were big enough to feel,” says Dr Lin.