The State

As many as 60,000 unreinforced brick and concrete California buildings that were erected before the adoption of tougher construction standards could crumble in severe earthquakes, experts said during a symposium in Coalinga. But state seismologist Michael Reichle said there are few places in the state "as mucky" as the central part of Mexico City where ancient lake-bed sediments amplified ground movement and caused violent temblors 250 miles from the epicenter of last September's destructive quake there. The inventory of "old, brittle buildings is still the greatest threat to life in California," said engineering consultant Edwin Johnson.

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