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I have this notion that at the top, the building will be more likely to shake than at the bottom, where it is grounded.

So, how does it work with an earthquake? Who would be more likely to perceive a small earthquake? Someone at the ground floor, or at the 3rd floor? Or 20th floor? Or does it depend on the magnitude of the earthquake?

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  • $\begingroup$ Good question, but you might get better answers on Engineering than here. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Aug 18 '17 at 9:33
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, Do you know if I can cross post? $\endgroup$ – Fernando César S. Aug 18 '17 at 13:27
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    $\begingroup$ Please don't cross-post. I discussed with some of the Engineering folks and they're not sure if it's a good fit there. Perhaps Physics would fit better, but I propose we first wait a couple of days to see if it gets a good answer here. Perhaps some of the earthquake folks know enough about propagation through buildings to answer it here. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Aug 18 '17 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know the answer, but I think that someone who does should also address the different types of earthquake (direction of the wave relative to the surface) $\endgroup$ – hugovdberg Aug 18 '17 at 16:08
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    $\begingroup$ Like so many things the answer is: it depends. If you're in a building with base isolators and/or tuned mass damper, you may not even realize there was an earthquake. But if you're in a building solidly attached to the ground, you will probably believe the earthquake was worse than it actually was. My basis for this is from anecdotal reports from the Loma Prieta (q.v.) earthquake, which I experienced first hand. Those in highrises generally thought the earthquake was worse than those on the ground. $\endgroup$ – BillDOe Aug 18 '17 at 18:02

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