December 5, 2019

Will Allan Block Retaining Walls Perform Well in High Seismic Zones?

Allan Block Segmental Retaining Walls (SRW) are the only SRW products to be tested in full-scale seismic testing on one of the world’s largest shake tables located in Tsukuba, Japan.  The tests were conducted in the fall of 2002, and were tested at loads that exceeded the 7.2 magnitude of the Kobe, Japan earthquake in January of 1995.  To read more about the tests, see the test report ( ) or the Executive Summary (

The results of the tests performed by researchers from Columbia University, University of Delaware and the Science Institute of Japan were so remarkable that in only 5 short years, all viable design codes in North America accepted the results and modified their seismic design calculations.

The key to the incredible performance of an Allan Block segmental wall under seismic loading, is the flexible nature of the system and the remarkable facial strength and stability of the facing.  The blocks are assembled with no need for the mortar that concrete masonry block walls require, and have a virtually continuous connection to the horizontal geogrid layers. For more information on geogrid reinforcement, see our website: .  The reinforced soil mass faced with Allan Block easily handles the seismic events by its ability to flex and move with the seismic waves, while remaining fully intact and stable.  For more on seismic loading and design consideration, see the Best Practices for Segmental Retaining Wall Design.

                                       Allan Block Retaining Wall Seismic Test Video

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