Monday, September 12, 2005

More on earthquake protection here in Missouri's New Madrid Fault Zone:
Popular Science April 2005--
"When the Sumatrin Quake rocked South Asia, hundreds of advanced seismometers around the world detected the rumblings. Yet, only two were stationed in the regions hit hardest by the quake and subsequent tsunami. Had coastal towns been equipped with earthquake observatories...thousands of lives may have been saved."

Why aren't there seismometers stationed where we need them to alert us to early signs of a possible earthquake? They are tremendously expensive. But YOU can have one in your home for about $200. Popular Science describes the cost effective version developed by Randall Peters, from Mercer Univ. as "a rudimentary but ultrasensitive seismometer." All you need is a heavy object on a string and a recording device. It's "bare bones" but the results during an earthquake will alert you to seismic activity characteristic of the Rayleigh waves which cause most of the damage. The heavy object in the device designed by Peters is coated with sensors that moves between electrically charged plates. Not exactly a do-it-yourself project. But it could be manufactured and sold for about $200.

Imagine waking up to find clear evidence of seismic activity which causes you to go running around your neighborhood shouting "earthquake o'comin'." It won't take more than one false alarm and your nickname will be Chicken Little. Better to gather those in your house and spend the day in "safe mode" with your emergency kit waiting for the BIG one.

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