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17/06

Seismology training day

Fault Line Living is lucky enough to be supported by the British Geological Survey. Since 2007 the BGS have been assisting UK schools to set up their own seismic recording stations capable of detecting and analysing the vibrations reaching the UK from large earthquakes that happen on the other side of the world. Kids love this stuff, and it’s a brilliant way of getting them interested in both Physics and Geology.

The British Geological Survey have loaned us two portable seismic systems which we’ll be testing for the BGS during our journey. If our tests are successful it is hoped that a resource pack can be developed for schools to take with them on trips to Iceland and elsewhere in 2011.

We love this aspect of our project. Every time we set up camp, along side our tents we’ll also set up our two seismometers to see what seismic activity is taking place on particular fault lines.

But first we had to get up to speed on the science behind earthquakes and learn how our two seismometers work and how to read the data they’ll give us. Adam and I went off to Imperial College London for a day’s training session with the very brilliant Paul Denton.  The whole day was a lesson in how brilliant props and great teaching can make learning totally effortless.

First up were Jelly Babies. Pierced onto the end of a piece of spaghetti they became a representation of how buildings of different heights behave differently during an earthquake.

Next up were two slinkies to demonstrate how the P and S waves of an earthquake work differently. Slinkies perfectly demonstrate  the different speeds of P waves (a uniformly advancing disturbance in which the parts moved undergo a double oscillation) and S waves (in which the particles of the medium oscillate in a direction perpendicular to the direction of travel of the wave).

Finally we all stood in a row with our shoulders touching and knocked into each other to show how P waves are faster than S waves.  It was a lot of fun and Paul Denton from the BGS is a brilliant teacher.  More stuff to follow about this as we start our journey and start using our equipment.

2 Responses to “Seismology training day”

mel on 7/08/2010 at 9:05 pm said :

Fascinating!

mietwagen mallorca on 13/10/2010 at 2:12 am said :

I am doing research for my university thesis, thanks for your great points, now I am acting on a sudden impulse.

- Laura

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