After the violent earthquake that shook Los Angeles in 1994, earthqua ke scientists had good news to report: the damage and death toll could have been much worse.
More than 60 people died in this earthquake. By comparison, an earthquake of sim ilar intensity that shook America in 1988 claimed 25,000 victims.
Injuries and deaths were relatively less in Los Angeles because the quake occurred at 4:31 a.m. on a holiday, when traffic was light on the city’s highways. In addition, changes made to the constrction codes in Los Angeles during the last 2 0 years have strengthened the city’s buildings and highways, making them more re sistant to quakes.
Despite the good news, civil engineers aren’t resting on their successness. Pinned to their drawing boards are blueprints for improved quakeresistant building s . The new designs should offer even greater security to cities where earthquakes often take place.
In the past, making structures quakeresistant meant firm yet flexible material s , such as steel and wood, that bend without breaking. Later, people tried to lif t a building off its foundation, and insert rubber and steel between the buildin g and its foundation to reduce the impact of ground vibrations. The most recent designs give buildings brains as well as concrete and steel supports. Called sma rt buildings, the structures respond like living organisms to an earthquake’s vib ration. When the ground shakes and the building tips forward, the computer would force the building to shift in the opposite direction.
The new smart structures could be very expensive to build. However, they would s ave many lives and would be less likely to be damaged during earthquakes.
1. The function of the computer mentioned in the passage is to ___ ___.
A. counterbalance an earthquake’s action on the building
B. predict the coming of an earthquake with accuracy
C. help strengthen the foundation of the building
D. measure the impact of an earthquake’s vibrations
2. The smart buildings discussed in the passage ______
A. would cause serious financial problems
B. would be worthwhile though costly
C. would increase the complexity of architectural design
D. can reduce the ground vibrations caused by earthquakes
3. It can be inferred from the passage that in minimizing the damage cau sed by earthquakes attention should be focused on ______.
A. the increasing use of rubber and steel in capital construction
B. the development of flexible building materials
C. the reduction of the impact of ground vibrations
D. early forecasts of earthquakes
4. The author’s main purpose in writing the passage is to ___ ___.
A. compare the consequences of the earthquakes that occurred in the U.S
B. encourage civil engineers to make more extensive use of computers
C. outline the history of the development of quakeresistant building materials D. report new developments in constructing quakeresistant buildings