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Clark State Is Shaking Things Up With New Seismic Recording Instruments

Clark State Is Shaking Things Up With New Seismic Recording Instruments

March 18, 2016

Have you felt the earth move under your feet? Maybe, or maybe not. But, now you can be sure. Clark State Community College has been selected to house one of 27 seismic recording instruments for the Ohio Seismic Network.

“We have a monitor right outside the geology lab of in Rhodes Hall that captures real-time seismic data,” said Dr. David Miller, professor of geology at Clark State. “We actually pick up seismic data from around the world, not just here in Ohio.”

Miller said the monitor recently picked up seismic activity in the Atlantic Ocean caused by waves pounding on the Continental Shelf. “That’s how sensitive this equipment is,” he said.

Miller said we don’t often consider earthquakes in Ohio, but while Clark County does not sit on a fault line, Anna, Ohio, does. “Anna, Ohio, is probably the earthquake capital of the state,” said Miller. “In 1937 they had a 5.4 earthquake on the Richter scale. The only brick and mortar structure in town was the school, and it was destroyed.”

However, Miller said, Clark and surrounding counties have a natural zone of weakness where plates are inclined to shift. “As we get pushed – plate tectonics – that builds up stress, and eventually that stress has to be relieved. It comes in the form of earthquakes.”

Clark State was one of the first hosts of the original 15-station network that began operation in 1999 and is designated in the network as station CSCO.

This seismic network has since recorded over 200 earthquakes within the state of Ohio. Located in its new home on the Leffel Lane Campus in Springfield, Ohio, this station is a key component of the network located in the western portion of the state. CSCO is in a prime location to give good azimuthal control for recording potential earthquake data from the Anna Seismic Zone to the northwest.

“Working together will help us identify what is called the ‘focus’ or where the earthquake took place under the surface,” said Miller. “That will help us in the future better predict earthquakes, hopefully then we can save lives and reduce property loss.”

The instrument is an EAI S102 broadband seismometer that records continuously and can detect large earthquakes across the globe, as well as smaller regional seismic and non-seismic events.  All data is fed into the Ohio Earthquake information center at Alum Creek near Delaware, Ohio, in real-time.

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