In the News

Central Indiana earthquake shakes Chicagoans (December 2010)

by Evelyn Holmes

Roseland resident Angelina Hill is OK now, but it was a much different story when she was literally shaken awake Thursday morning.
 
"It startled me. I didn't know what it was," she said.
 
Hill woke up to an earthquake centered roughly 127 miles southeast of Chicago near Kokomo, Ind., but it was also felt by people on the city's West Side.
 
"Just kind of a shake, like a big old violent shake, like someone's trying to wake you up," said Chicago resident Jessenia Merritt.
 
The 3.8 magnitude earthquake hit portions of central Indiana around 7 a.m. In Greentown, Ind., people like Garret Sullivan and his mother Karen said it felt like a loaded semitruck came rumbling by.
 
"When I came downstairs, there were things off the shelves and off the wall. My son actually felt his bed hitting the wall," Karen Sullivan said.
 
"My bed started to hit this wall. These toys fell off and that one fell over. I though it was a tornado and a bulldozer," Garret Sullivan said.
 
Geologists say there are no known fault lines at the epicenter of the quake, but add that in the central United States, many are not mapped.
 
This quake is not the first of its kind or strength to strike the same area. It's happened twice before: on September 4, 2004 with a magnitude of 3.8, and on April 18, 1990 with a magnitude of 3.0.
 
While experts say the frequency of earthquakes happening in central Indiana is low, when they do hit, they are widely felt.
 
"The rock underneath the ground is very old and consolidated, so they transmit the seismic energy really well. So even a small earthquake in the eastern U.S. is felt very widely," said Paul Caruso with the U.S. Geological Survey.
 
A seismograph at the Da Vinci Academy in Elgin registered the vibrations. Science teacher Rod Allen hopes to use it as a tool to educate his students.
 
"I pick up about 70, 80, 90 earthquakes a year with it. Anything local," Allen said.
 
So far, there have been no reports of major damage or injuries from the earthquake that rattled not only residents in parts of several other Midwestern states but also Chicago resident Gerald James.
 
"It's kind of crazy. They keep happening. You can't control it. It's like the weather -- you can't control earthquakes," James said.
 
(Copyright ©2011 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)


Puerto Rico Earthquake Recorded at Monroe (May 2010)

by Christian Ramirez

On Sunday May 16, an earthquake that measured a magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter Scale hit Puerto Rico. The quake struck mainly on the western side at 1:16 AM. The epicenter of the earthquake was located in the town of Moca and was felt on moat of the island. The earthquake was so strong that Mr. Juan Betancourt of Monroe captured it on his seismograph located on the 3rd floor. This is an amazing thing; not because it was a 5.8 magnitude, but because Puerto Rico is located 2,917.09 km from Rochester, NY. And this machine captured this event clearly.
 
Seismographic machines measure and record the shocks and vibrations of earthquakes. These machines are also used to determine the intensity, direction and duration of ground movement. With his seismograph, Mr. Betancourt can detect and record earthquakes all over the world.
 
The Puerto Rico Seismic Network (PRSN) received reports that this moderate earthquake was reported felt through out Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, with a maximum intensity of VI (Modified Mercalli scale, MM) At the time of generating this bulletin, no damage has been reported, but the size and location can not be ruled out. No tsunami hazard in Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.

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Budding Seismographers- At Christian Brothers, students learn earth science by monitoring earthquakes (May 2010)

by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Days after the Haiti earthquake, students at Christian Brothers High School were still experiencing aftershocks.
 
Christian Brothers is the only Sacramento high school with a working seismograph in its science classroom. The device, an AS1, or entry-level seismograph, is part of the IRIS Seismographs in Schools Program. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the program was created to bridge the gap between science classrooms and the real world and to create an international educational seismic network.
 
"The seismograph can pick up things we can't feel," explains CB science teacher David Levasseur, the teacher who applied for the grant and received training through the IRIS program. "The Haiti earthquake came into our seismograph about 30 minutes after it started in Haiti. The students were able to come in and see the earthquake patterns on the screen and follow the aftershocks."
 
Freshman Alexa Bacher is fascinated by the seismograph.
 
"After Haiti, we came into class at break and looked to see what was happening," she says. "It's just really cool to learn about earthquakes all over the world and to actually see them when they are happening."
 
Levasseur was inspired to apply for the IRIS grant to try to make science more real for his students.
 
"I teach earthquakes in my freshman science class," says the 11-year veteran teacher, "and I wanted to make the material come alive for students. When I first started teaching about earthquakes, I could ask my students, 'Where were you in the 1989 earthquake?' and we would have a lively discussion about earthquakes and their impact. Now, my students were born after 1989, and many Sacramento kids have never felt an earthquake."
 
The seismograph has definitely made earthquakes more real for students. It uploads readings onto a computer screen- everything from a classroom door banging shut to real earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and Nothern California. The data is then uploaded onto a website. Students sitting at computers circling the science classroom can see and manipulate the data.
 
"The seismograph doesn't give you a location," says Levasseur. "You need three machines to triangulate the data. Kids learn to plot earthquakes using the information from our readings and triangulating with data from other school's websites."
 
A map of the world is posted on the science classroom is peppered with small circular stickers noting the location of dozens of earthquakes the seismograph has picked up since September.
 
Another freshman, Colleen Donovan, has spent much of her free time plotting earthquakes, and her careful triangulation is responsible for many of the stickers on the map. "My friends and I love to go in and plot the earthquakes," Donovan says. "I've learned all kinds of things: where the earthquakes are happening, longitude and latitude, the tectonics plates and stuff like that."
 
Levasseur points to the map. The stickers are clustered in a smattering of locations, leaving most of the map untouched. "My students have discovered the seven plates on their own," he says. "I haven't even had to teach them about it yet."
 
Lorcan Barnes, the school's president, is thrilled about the addition of the seismograph to the science classroom.
 
"The faculty at Christian Brothers is extraordinary in that they look to find unique and creative ways to engage our students," says Barnes. "The seismograph takes earth science lessons and brings them to life in real time and in the real world. Shifts in tectonic plates take on a whole new meaning when students can see them as they occur in places like Chile, Haiti or even here in Northern California."

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Teacher applies earthquakes to classroom lessons (March 2010)

by Rachel Canelli, Bucks County Courier Times

Teacher Dave Curry goes over seismograph
readings with students in his eighth-grade
Earth/Space Science class at Holland Middle
School in Holland Tuesday. A seismograph in
Curry's classroom recorded how much both
the Haiti and Chile earthquakes were felt there.
- Matt Stanley/Staff Photographer

 

 

A seismograph in Dave Curry's classroom picked up the vibrations from the Haitian and Chilean quakes.
 
They were the quakes felt 'round the world.
 
When major tremors shook Haiti and Chile this winter, vibrations made their presence known as far away as Bucks County. A working electronic seismograph in a Council Rock classroom picked up both earthquakes.

So, Dave Curry, an eighth-grade earth and space science teacher at Holland Middle School, put his lesson about rocks on hold this week and shifted the focus to earthquakes to take advantage of the teachable moment.
 
"It really showed that something major had occurred," Curry said as he discussed the quakes' screen graphs, which were playing back in real time across a whiteboard. "Events around the world really do cause the ground to shake where we live + even if we can't feel it."
 
More than a year ago, Curry obtained training and the seismograph, which is an instrument that measures the motions of the ground, through a grant from the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology. Since 2000, the Institution has donated more than 200 of the mechanisms to schools across the country.
 
The seismograph can sense student movement, a truck driving by in the middle of the night, or even a bird flying into a window. Without that tool, Curry and his students wouldn't have known that the upheaval in Chile subtly moved their classroom - kind of like feeling someone walk by if you're sitting still.
 
"It's really neat that even though we're not there, we could still see and feel it," said 14-year-old Caitlin Jackson. "It still involves us."
 
Like the ripple effect of a stone thrown into a pond, or a boat rising and falling on the ocean's waves, it took three hours before the Holland school's graph settled down. That's compared to the one hour it took after the Haitian shaking, said Curry.
 
Although the earthquake in Haiti was devastating, the Chilean trembling was 500 times as intense.
 
It actually caused the entire planet to ring like a bell, changed the Earth's rotation so much that the globe lost one-millionth of a second, and shifted the world's slightly tilted axis by three inches, he said.
 
While that probably doesn't seem like much right now, the Earth's tilt is what creates seasons, which could be affected over time, he added.
 
"It's nice to tie in what we're learning in science with current events, and to be able to understand the terms," said Adam Davis, 13.
 
That's Curry's ultimate goal - to apply science by finding it out in the world, in real life. And Curry said he knows that nothing captures kids' interest better than showing them how the very ground beneath their feet is shaking.


Students see Earthquakes' Impact (Spring 2010)

by Kyle Midura, KURL 8

BILLINGS - Students at Senior High have been following recent earthquakes like the one in Haiti in great detail, but probably not in the way you think. "This is the movement of the ground in Billings during the Haiti earthquake," said Earth Sciences Teacher Craig Beals as he pointed to a seismogram.

Earthquakes have an international impact, and for ninth graders in Mr. Beals' class that's readily apparent. It may not look like much, but their seismograph is nearly as accurate as those used by the U.S. Geological Survey.

"We get just about anything that's a 6.0 or greater worldwide," said Beals, "but most anything from Yellowstone that's a 2.0 or greater."

"I've always been kind of interested in Yellowstone," said student Ashleigh Brady, “and when earthquake stuff came up in class, I was pretty excited. I always wanted to see a seismograph."

In the age of now, Beals says school needs to move at the pace of Facebook, Twitter and texting. A spike in web hits follows a spike in quakes.

"I check in whenever I can get a hold of the computer." said Ashleigh.

"It gives them an opportunity to experience science instead of just reading it out of a textbook." said Beals.

Mr. Beals says class can be interrupted by quakes on the other side of the world. "Instantly the students want to know what's shaking right now, where is this coming from."

For that they turn to the National Science Foundation and students share their findings in a sort of reverse show-and-tell.

"I think at first my dad was like 'why is she interested in school all of a sudden'” said Ashleigh.

"I've gotten a few e-mails from parents, ‘Did you get any of those swarms?’"

“But once he noticed that I was really into it he thought it was really neat that I was taking an interest in class." added Ashleigh.


Making the Grade - Paducah Tilghman High School (April 2010)

By Laura Wibbenmeyer

PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) - Tilghman High School has something you probably haven't seen in a classroom before--a seismometer.

A seismometer is used to measure motions of the ground, including those generated by earthquakes. With the recent Haiti and Chile earthquakes this new piece of equipment is earth shattering.

"It's extremely rare for kids this age to be involved with anything as far as a seismometer goes," said teacher Nancy Mullenax.

Mullenax teamed up with fellow teacher Alan Graham Tucker to make Tilghman High School home of a seismometer and they say this is bringing a huge interactive element into their classrooms.

"Anytime you can get away from literature, students, adults, anyone will get more excited about it and it sticks with them better," Tucker said.

Teachers say the learning goes way beyond a classroom.

"We get to see how our seismometer picks up on world earthquakes, like the Haiti and Chile earthquakes," Tucker said.

Mullenax and Tucker says this first-hand experience makes a deeper impact on the students and that is their main goal.

If you would like to monitor Tilghman's seismometer as well as others around the country check out the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology Research website.


Students study Earthquakes in the Classroom (March 2010)

by Todd Faulkner & Chad Darnall, WPSD Local 6 News

We've certainly seen a fair share of earthquakes lately. In Haiti, in Chile, in Missouri just a few days ago and Thursday morning an earthquake hit Taiwan.

High school students at Paducah Tilghman are studying those earthquakes closely, and for good reason. We sit right on the New Madrid fault zone.

The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, or IRIS program, is working to get students interested in science by studying earthquake activity. Paducah Tilghman High School is the only school in Kentucky involved in the program.

The goal is to apply science by finding it out in the world, in real life. In this case, students at the Home of the Tornado are learning about this different type of natural disaster, earthquakes.

Teachers Nancy Mullenax and Alan Tucker wrote a grant for a seismograph from IRIS to be on permanent loan at the school. The two were awarded a seismograph to monitor seismic activity and enrolled in the program. They use the information provided by the machine in classes to help increase knowledge and awareness of earthquakes.


Studying Earthquakes at UW- Whitewater (March 2010)


Reading, Writing, and Earthquakes? (March 2010)

by Seth Voorhees, YNN Rochester

The earthquake in Chile over the weekend was of particular interest to some students at one Rochester high school.

When that 8.8 magnitude earthquake shook Chile to its core Saturday, many in Mr. Betancourt's science class at Monroe High School could not wait to get to school Monday. That’s because the classroom has a seismometer, which registered when the earth shook.

The device is an important tool in lessons taught there.

“The students have been very excited to come in the classroom,” said Betancourt, who’s taught at Monroe for five years.

It is one thing to learn about science and seismology from books. It's another experience altogether, to see it firsthand.

“It's very interesting,” said Robert Cannon, a junior. “You wouldn't think being all the way up here you would be able to actually see the magnitude of the earthquake.”

“It was interesting to know about Chile,” said Ashley Rivera, who’s also in her junior year. “It’s just cool.”

The setup at Monroe is part of the IRIS Institute of Seismography, which links information to classrooms all around the country. Betancourt says the school can keep the seismometer as long as it's still used in teaching.

If the world moves in mysterious ways, students in this class at least have a better understanding -- of why.

“We're, like, so far away from it,” said Rivera. “It's cool we get to see it here.”


Local Coverage of the Illinois Earthquake (February 2010)

Elgin School Takes Seismograph of Earthquake

     One suburban school that monitors earthquakes
     around the world found today's local event
     especially interesting. CBS 2's Ed Curran reports
     this earthquake hit very close to home.

 

No injuries, damage in 3.8-magnitude earthquake

     An WLS-TV ABC7 story featuring both Rod Allen,
     a science teacher at Da Vinci Academy
     and David Voorhees, Waubonsee Community
     College.

 

Unique Perspective on Earthquake at Elgin School

     Students at DaVinci Academy in Elgin have an
     unique perspective on the Illinois earthquake
     Wednesday. CBS 2's Ed Curran reports.

 


Seismograph at Casady noted quake - Casady School (January 2010)

article by NewsOK powered by the Oklahoman

Students at Casady School had a hands-on learning opportunity when a seismograph station in one of their classrooms detected activity after the earthquake in Haiti.

A seismograph in Dr. Michael Lewchuk’s math and science classroom recorded a strong reading about five minutes after the earthquake hit Haiti.

Lewchuk said his throat was hoarse from talking by the end of the day Wednesday. Even when he wasn’t teaching, students and faculty were eager to hear about the seismic activity that was recorded, Lewchuk said.

He said his classes have picked up readings from large earthquakes all over the world, including China and Afghanistan, on a seismograph that was donated by a program through Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology.

Lewchuk uses the readings for lessons about cultural geography, geometry, earth sciences and more.


Gov. Otter shakes up earthquake lesson in Jerome (October 2009)

Excerpted from John Plestina, Times-News Writer, the Magic Valley Times-News

Idaho’s Governor Otter recently visited with Steve Bruns at Jerome High School. The governor was at the school to see a new teleconference lab that was created through the Idaho Education Network (IEN). The network allows Jerome High School to collaborate with other high schools in Idaho.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter created seismic disturbances on the AS-1 seismometer by stomping his feet and jumping as he participated in a science lesson delivered from Jerome High School to students in Shoshone and Weiser High Schools over the new IEN.

As Otter created mini-disturbances, JHS science teacher Steve Bruns presented the lesson to students at the remote sites and showed off the new seismograph JHS acquired Sept. 29. Bruns showed the seismic reading from the recent earthquakes in Samoa and Vanuatu.

Otter was apparently impressed with both the seismograph and the IEN demonstration. He added that with a shortage of science and math teachers in many Idaho school districts, students attending small schools in all parts of Idaho could participate in science classes from Jerome High School.

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Boston College and St. Paul School Shake Things Up (Winter 2009)

BC - ESPThe Boston College Educational Seismology Project is a community outreach program operated by the Weston Observatory in partnership with the Boston College Lynch School of Education. St. Paul School is located in Wellesley, MA and participated in the project during the Fall 2008-2009 semester

Seismographs measure the pulse of the Earth and provide direct information about earthquakes, plate tectonics, and the structure of the Earth's interior. Having their own seismograph in the classroom gives students a way of collecting real world data and use it to make scientific measurements. They gain a unique understanding of the internal structure of the Earth and how it is always changing. They get to participate in the same process that scientists follow when making a discovery.

Jack McKinney, Grade 4 - I was interested in how the computer recorded the earthquakes because of vibrations of the Earth's surface. I like science because inventions like this can save lives, if we can detect the earthquake and send emergency help right away.

Read the entire article.

 


Irish Seismology in Schools (January 2009)

BT Young Scientist and Technology ExhibitionThe 44th annual BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, held January 2009, featured over 1,100 students presenting 500 projects. Students came from each of the 32 counties in Ireland, 201 different schools, representing the future of science, engineering, mathematics and technology. In the ‘Chemical, Physical & Mathematical Sciences’ category there were 98 projects presented.

Denis Patterson and Shane Curry, part of the Seismology in Schools (Seismeolaíocht sa Scoil) Pilot Program, presented a project on “Seismic Activity in the British Isles and the Wider World”. Their study explored the recording potential of the SEP seismometer, and a comparison and analysis of teleseism recordings, man-made noise, and the microseism.

Two awards were received: “International Year of Planet Award” and first prize in the “Category Award: Chemical, Physical, and Mathematical Sciences”. Congratulations!