Our ever alert researcher into all things earthen, Patti Stouter, has found that testing has confirmed that earthbags can provide excellent base isolation to lessen the impact of earthquakes and severe winds on buildings. The Advanced Materials Research group has published a paper titled Cyclic Simple Shear Tests on Base Isolation Using Soilbags.
“Soilbags have been understood to have the effect of vibration reduction and can be used as a kind of base isolation in building foundations. In this paper, a series of cyclic simple shear tests were carried out on soilbags filled with three kinds of soils under different vertical stresses to investigate the damping and stiffness characters of the soilbags. The results show that soilbags have a relatively high damping ratio and variable horizontal stiffness so that they can be used as base isolation materials.” They go on to say that the bags can even be filled with construction waste rubble and still be effective.
Studies like this will likely put earthbag technology in the forefront of building design for safety! You can read more details about their study at the above link, and can purchase the entire paper if you want.