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Blog updates by Watershed Materials. Developments for sustainable new concrete block technology funded by the National Science Foundation.

Home Built Entirely of Watershed Block Survives Magnitude 6 Earthquake With No Damage.

The Watershed Materials team was shaken awake at 3 in the morning by a magnitude 6.0 earthquake located just a few miles from both the Watershed Materials headquarters factory and the first home built entirely of Watershed Block.

We are happy to report that the first home built entirely of Watershed Block, located nearly on top of the epicenter of the strongest earthquake to strike the California Bay Area in over 20 years, sustained absolutely no structural damage or any visible damage of any kind. After the strong earthquake, we witnessed absolutely no signs of damage - no cracks in the mortar joint lines, or on the faces of any blocks. Not only did the home survive the earthquake with no structural damage, there was no damage to any of the contents inside the home during the strong earthquake. Books stayed on bookshelves. The kitchen did not fall apart. We are truly amazed at the fantastic performance of this home during a strong seismic event.

Home constructed entirely of Watershed Block in the early morning of Sunday August 24th 2014 after a strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake. No structural damage is observed to any part of the home or its contents.

Home constructed entirely of Watershed Block in the early morning of Sunday August 24th 2014 after a strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake. No structural damage is observed to any part of the home or its contents.

Home constructed entirely of Watershed Block in the early morning of Sunday August 24th 2014 after a strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake. No structural damage is observed to any part of the home or its contents.

Home constructed entirely of Watershed Block in the early morning of Sunday August 24th 2014 after a strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake. No structural damage is observed to any part of the home or its contents.

Home constructed entirely of Watershed Block after a strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake. No structural damage is observed in the block or the joints or to the structure of the building.

Home constructed entirely of Watershed Block after a strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake. No structural damage is observed in the block or the joints or to the structure of the building.

Home constructed entirely of Watershed Block after a strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake. No structural damage is observed to any part of the home or its contents. Amazingly, the books and contents of the bookshelf remained intact.

Home constructed entirely of Watershed Block after a strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake. No structural damage is observed to any part of the home or its contents. Amazingly, the books and contents of the bookshelf remained intact.

Many buildings in Napa were severely damaged, and some were destroyed. Hundreds of injuries were reported, a few critical. Our sincere condolences go out to those who were injured or who's homes and businesses were damaged and in cases destroyed.

A car damaged by a 6.0-magnitude earthquake sits outside a bail bonds business in Napa, California. (August 24, 2014).  Image credit Matthew Keys, used with permissions of Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives 2.0 license.

A car damaged by a 6.0-magnitude earthquake sits outside a bail bonds business in Napa, California. (August 24, 2014).  Image credit Matthew Keys, used with permissions of Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives 2.0 license.

The masonry structure of the Napa post office sustained moderate damage following a 6-magnitude earthquake on August 24, 2014. Image credit Matthew Keys, used with permissions of Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives 2.0 license.

The masonry structure of the Napa post office sustained moderate damage following a 6-magnitude earthquake on August 24, 2014. Image credit Matthew Keys, used with permissions of Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives 2.0 license.

The destroyed front facade of a masonry building in downtown Napa, California seen in a post-earthquake photo. (August 24, 2014). Image credit Matthew Keys, used with permissions of Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives 2.0 license.

The destroyed front facade of a masonry building in downtown Napa, California seen in a post-earthquake photo. (August 24, 2014). Image credit Matthew Keys, used with permissions of Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives 2.0 license.

Structural performance during seismic events is high on the list of reservations about building with alternative materials including those made of earth. While more testing will be performed, we are happy to see that the first home built entirely of Watershed Block performed at and beyond expectations during a serious earthquake.

The Watershed Materials "World Headquarters" office and factory is located even closer to the epicenter of the recent earthquake in Napa. The main structure of the factory is not made of rammed earth or Watershed Block but is an old repurposed factory building. There, many of our materials samples and testing equipment were thrown to the ground. But the Watershed Materials "World Headquarters" office structure, which is made of both Watershed Block and PISE (a form of rammed earth) sustained absolutely no damage. Additionally, other Rammed Earth walls and test walls built of Watershed Block sustained no structural damage.

The Watershed Materials "World Headquarters" office, built of Watershed Block and a form of Rammed Earth called PISE, sustained no structural damage during the strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake. The building is located just a few miles from the epicenter of the earthquake.

The Watershed Materials "World Headquarters" office, built of Watershed Block and a form of Rammed Earth called PISE, sustained no structural damage during the strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake. The building is located just a few miles from the epicenter of the earthquake.

The Watershed Materials "World Headquarters" office, built of Watershed Block and a form of Rammed Earth called PISE, sustained no structural damage during the strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake. The building is located just a few miles from the epicenter of the earthquake.

The Watershed Materials "World Headquarters" office, built of Watershed Block and a form of Rammed Earth called PISE, sustained no structural damage during the strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake. The building is located just a few miles from the epicenter of the earthquake.

A Rammed Earth wall at the Watershed Materials "World Headquarters" sustained no structural damage during the strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake. The building is located just a few miles from the epicenter of the earthquake.

A Rammed Earth wall at the Watershed Materials "World Headquarters" sustained no structural damage during the strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake. The building is located just a few miles from the epicenter of the earthquake.

The Watershed Materials factory, an old building not made of Watershed Block or Rammed Earth, did not sustain significant damage during the the strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake, but many of our testing samples and materials were thrown to the ground. The epicenter of the earthquake in Napa was just a few miles from the building.

The Watershed Materials factory, an old building not made of Watershed Block or Rammed Earth, did not sustain significant damage during the the strong magnitude 6.0 earthquake, but many of our testing samples and materials were thrown to the ground. The epicenter of the earthquake in Napa was just a few miles from the building.