Media Advisory/Photo Opportunity: World’s Largest Earthquake Shake Table Test to Occur in Japan July 14

Note to Editors: Photos of the building under construction are available with the news release at and a time-lapse video of construction can be viewed at At 11 a.m. EDT on July 14, the National Science Foundation will host a webcast featuring extensive footage from the shake table tests and an opportunity for the media and public to ask questions of lead investigator John van de Lindt and others involved with the project. The webcast URL is


Colorado State University, in close collaboration with Simpson Strong-Tie, has finished construction of a seven-story condominium tower on the world’s largest shake table near Kobe, Japan. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the building will be subjected to a simulated 6.7 magnitude earthquake on Japan’s E-Defense (Earthquake-Defense) shake table on July 14. The ultimate goal behind the research is to develop a new design approach for taller wood-frame buildings in earthquake-prone areas. U.S. consumers will benefit by improving the construction and safety of multistory wood buildings. Wood buildings are less expensive and quicker to build, and wood is the only building material that is truly a renewable resource.


The shake table is the largest in the world with the platform measuring approximately 65 feet by 49 feet. The table can support building experiments weighing up to 2.5 million pounds. The project’s condominium tower weighs nearly a million pounds.

The project includes a series of seismic tests, known as the NEESWood Capstone tests, which began June 30 with the final and largest test occurring on July 14. The Capstone tests are the culmination of a four-year $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF estimates more than 75 million U.S. citizens in 39 states live in areas at risk for earthquake devastation.

The test in Miki City, Japan, ultimately could help the building industry safely increase the height of wood-frame construction to six or seven stories in active seismic zones, said John van de Lindt, Colorado State civil engineering professor who serves as the principal investigator for the project. CSU is collaborating with four other U.S. research institutions as well as industry partners led by Simpson Strong-Tie, Maui Homes USA and technical collaborators at the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory. Other university collaborators include Texas A&M University, SUNY-Buffalo, RPI, and University of Delaware on the NSF grant.