Earthquakes are hard to predict, but the average citizen do some things to help themselves and others. By detecting even minor underground activity, perhaps a more serious quake can be prevented.
We recently had a minor earthquake in our area, yet it took weeks for the experts to decide that it was indeed an earthquake. In those weeks, residents reported various booming and popping sounds. The source of the sounds was hard to pinpoint. People and officials looked for above ground and below ground answers, yet none were to be found. Without answers, people were speculating the sounds could be hydraulic fracturing (fracking), secret military activities, fault lines, underground explosions, etc. Experts were called in from the U.S. Geological Survey and from a nearby university. The final conclusion was that we had micro-quakes.
I was bewildered because usually earthquakes are announced quickly, but these phenomena had many baffled. I thought there had to be a better way. I wanted to find a quicker way to detect earthquakes.
A little Internet searching revealed IRIS – Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology -. IRIS is a consortium of schools and universities that all network with each other and with larger agencies, such as the Global Seismographic Network.
Thus, local schools have the option of participating in IRIS’s “Seismographs in Schools Program”. This program provides guidance on setting up a school seismograph station and teaching materials. This benefits the world in adding to the seismic data network. In addition, students learn how to act in a globally supportive manner.
Seismographs can detect any underground activities including earthquakes, volcanic activities, and explosions especially nuclear. Research is showing that many earthquakes are man-made, from mining activities including fracking. If research shows that minor earthquakes are due to man-made activities, then these activities can be stopped, thus averting a major earthquake.
If you would like to improve detection of underground activities, and thus potentially prevent a more serious calamity, here are some action steps to take.
- Investigate the IRIS site to learn about seismic detection.
- Ask your local school to participate in the IRIS “Seismographs in Schools Program”. A good person to ask would be the school’s science teacher. Offer to contribute to the cost, if possible.
- Follow up with the school on an ongoing basis, asking if you can help further. Observe the seismic data on your home computer from your local school.
By taking these simple action steps, you can take pleasure knowing that you have helped make your locality and the world a safer place.
“Increase in strong U.S. earthquakes man-made according to USGS” by Anthony Loconte, Harrisburg Environmental News Examiner