Did you feel tremors during yesterday’s East Coast earthquake? Did you think “Earthquake!” or “Hmmm, maybe a construction crew is working nearby” or even “Are we under attack?”

USGS "Shakemap"

The US Geological Society uses data to develop "Shakemaps" like this one.

Here at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, we thought, “The education team must be working on the Science LIVE! Earthquakes presentation again.”

Morehead offers several different versions of Science LIVE!, its interactive science demonstration show. In the Earthquakes version, the Science LIVE! presenter shows the audience how a seismograph works — and since Science LIVE! is an interactive presentation, that means the Science LIVE! presenter asks the audience to jump up and down, creating vibrations. Those vibrations can be measured by a simple accelerometer as the Science Stage auditorium shakes from the impact of dozens of people jumping up and down.

Science LIVE! is presented in our Science Stage auditorium, and Morehead staff member Jeff Hill has an office directly under the Science Stage. This summer, Jeff became accustomed to his office shaking every day around 2:45 p.m., as another audience participated in Science LIVE! Earthquakes. Visitors to Jeff’s office looked alarmed as the office began shaking, but Jeff explained calmly, “They’re just making an earthquake upstairs.”

So you can understand why Morehead staff thought “Science LIVE!” instead of “Earthquake!” yesterday. But that tremor wasn’t caused by a Science LIVE! audience. We’re actually closed for maintenance right now, which gives us a chance to update and fine-tune our programs.

That’s important, because scientific knowledge changes every single day. Right now, researchers are studying data from yesterday’s earthquake. We’re following their research (and research in other science disciplines, too) so we can bring you the most up-to-date scientific content in Science LIVE! and other educational programs at Morehead.

When we reopen on Sept. 17, come experience a Science LIVE! presentation. You may find yourself making an explosion, making snow or, yes, making an earthquake. And we’ll make it fun!

Friends in California are saying, "Earthquake? What earthquake?"



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