I am leaning towards a partial-burial solution. hate that term burial-but I guess its technically correct. I don't want to discourage you but I do think there are additional problems with the full-burial which you will need to overcome. The full-burial alternative is a tricky one. Like I said, I tried to make it work out in my planning but it just became too problematic and that was when I wasn't even considering earth movement and rolling land surfaces. I think the unpredictable forces exerted on a buried shipping container during any earthquake activity could prove disastrous. I had to ask myself, "What is the main reason or advantage that I wanted to get from burying it in the first place? Protection from the elements, and the near constant temperature of the ground. That is when I came up with the partial-buried plan. This plan uses the advantages but avoids the problems and the expense of full burial.
Offered by Steve.
I would be very leery about 3' of soil on top of one. It might not sound like much, but depending on your soil type, the weight could be several tons. Make sure that your container (including modifications can handle this load). Backfilling is one of the most important operations in buried structures. Any lose packing will cause shifts and possible create loads that cannot be handled. This is especially dangerous if the soil is generally rocky (rule of thumb is nothing larger than a softball within 5 feet of the structure). I would be concerned about the backfill in-between the container and the undisturbed soil as this is where the greatest danger lies. Another solution, a tad more expensive though ($10k), is to use culvert pipe. Here again, the importance of using materials designed for burial and the loads they must endure cannot be over emphasized (factor in earthquakes and you really have an issue).
Offered by Michael.
Your comments are well taken. I do like the culvert design and the web site. My discomfort is a design that buries these things so deep in the ground when there are Richter 9+ earthquakes predicted. I don't know if they are designed for that. That's why even with the culvert concept, I think I would prefer to see it mainly covered by berming. Maybe I'm just claustrophobic.
Offered by Kraige.
If something comes down on you, as in a landslide, or you sink a little more, you're looped. Personally, I would only half bury it so that it's not going to move but I don't find me and mine surviving but buried alive. Even a tree could have you stuck in there.
Offered by Regina.
Could you strengthen these by enclosing them in reinforced ferroconcrete before completely burying?
Offered by Cynthia.
In short - yes. But you are talking alot of money in concrete (12 yards for a 20' container, 24 for a 40' assuming 6" thickness) Rebar is relatively cheap. Spend just a bit more in concrete and you don't need the container at all. There's nothing stopping you from berming a culvert and it need not be so deep, though few structures are designed to withstand such extreme quakes. However with berming and only a year and half to go, the backfill will not have a chance to be completely settled, and that reduces the quake strength needed for liquefaction. That being the case, any structure you chose should have a substantial base. Think along the lines of floating to maintain vertical orientation.
Offered by Michael.