MIT’s Technology review has posted an article on how ancient buried mangrove swamps found in the Caribbean can absorb energy from earthquakes and reduce the potential for liquefaction. The paper was published by Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America; June 2011; v. 101; no. 3; p. 1073-1080; DOI: 10.1785/0120100129
This buried mangrove layer is remarkably flexible and this has an important effect on the energy generated by earthquakes. “The buried mangrove layer plays the role of an isolation system,” say Guegen and co. It absorbs energy and protects the ground above from the worst effects of an earthquake. “The flexibility of the mangrove layer reduces the distortion and the stress in the sandy upper layer, and consequently reduces the potential of liquefaction of the site,” they say.