A seismograph in every home

The USGS has started an awesome program to develop denser coverage of earthquakes in California. Dubbed NetQuakes, essentially the program calls for a small seismograph installed in a home, connected to wifi and a power source. When a M3.0 or greater earthquake is recorded by the device it’s recorded ground motion data is sent via the internet to the USGS.

The goal of this program is to improve measurements of earthquake ground motion and assess shaking and damage areas. The improved data helps with future earthquake resistant building construction and retrofitting.

All the coolness aside of getting to have a seismograph in your home (for free) and contributing to Science, I think this presents a fantastic opportunity to public school science programs in California. Teachers could easily incorporate installing and calibrating the device into a geoscience curriculum. When an earthquake is recorded by the device students could look at and analyze the data they helped make (identifying P-wave and S-wave arrivals, ect.).

It would be smart for the USGS to approach and work together with California high schools. It would forward their goals to create a denser network of seismographs and create interest in the geosciences among the state’s youth.

Check out the Netquakes page to learn how to sign up.

and remember… A seismograph in every home!

Get your shale gas on (Frack the shit out of you)

Recently, here’s been a lot of public exposure to shale gas and hydro-fracturing (Fracking). The debate centers around the environmental impact and possible contamination of freshwater aquifers. Fracking can have a huge impact on the local water infrastructure as 3 to 5 million gallons of water are used per frack. This presents considerable implications especially for water short states such as California, where fracking is is now being considered.

Penn State University has constructed a clear and very informative infographic covering many of the questions the public may have about fracking (via Agile Geoscience). Check it out.