World's Tallest Building Possibly Causing Earthquakes

Cluster of Quakes Shake Idaho

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The weight of the world's tallest skyscraper -- specially built to withstand Taiwan's frequent earthquakes -- could be causing a rise in the number of tremors beneath it, a professor from the island wrote in a scientific journal.

Lin Cheng-horng, an earthquake specialist at the National Taiwan Normal University in the capital, Taipei, says the 1,679-foot Taipei 101 building -- named for the number of floors -- might rest on an earthquake fault line.

In the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters, Lin wrote that the pressure of the building's 700,000 tons on the ground may be leading to increased seismic activity.

The tremors "could be a direct result of the loading of the mega-structure," said an abstract of Lin's article, published on the American Geophysical Union's Web site.

However, Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said on Friday that the one year since the building's completion was too short a time in which to evaluate its effect on tremors.

Taipei 101, which looks like a giant steel-and-glass bamboo shoot, is equipped with a 733-ton ball suspended near the top that moves to counter the force of earthquakes or strong winds.

Earthquakes are frequent in Taiwan. Most cause no casualties or damage, but in September 1999 a magnitude 7.6 quake in central Taiwan killed more than 2,300 people.