We sent our earthquake reporter to Mexico City to see what California can learn. Follow his reporting live

A week after a devastating earthquake hit Mexico, officials are still tallying the number of buildings that collapsed or were severely damaged.

Times staff writer Rong-Gong Lin II, who covers earthquakes and seismology, is traveling through Mexico this week to assess the damage with an eye on lessons for California.

Lin is traveling with seismic safety experts and structural engineers and will be chronicling stories of destruction and survival.

A key focus will be understanding why some building collapsed and others did not.

Early indications are that mid-rise concrete buildings were particularly hard-hit by the quake. Los Angeles in 2014 required retrofits to these types of concrete buildings, which experts have said are particularly at risk of collapse in a major quake because they are so brittle.

Experts said there is much California can learn from the destruction in Mexico — especially from the videos of buildings collapsing.

“Actually being able to physically see the process — I think it’s incredibly effective. It explains what a lot of the issues are,” seismologist Lucy Jones said last week. “Concrete buildings seem sturdy … and being able to see directly why that’s not true has got to start.”

Follow Ron’s trip at @ronlin on Twitter.


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