Posted tagged ‘geology’

GRCC seismometer records deadly Mexico earthquake

September 8, 2017

It’s been a busy week for seismometers. This morning, at 12:49 a.m. Michigan time, GRCC’s seismic station (GRMI) recorded a magnitude 8.1 earthquake (see red arrow in image below) off the Pacific Coast of Mexico. See the United States Geological Survey’s shake map below for location of the main shock and shaking intensity. This was the largest earthquake ever recorded on our station. Preliminary reports are that there are casualties and building collapses in communities closer to the earthquake. Mexico City appears to have sustained little damage or injuries thanks to strong building codes (since the devastating 1985 earthquake) and an early warning system that gave residents about 40 seconds to move to a place of safety. See the New York Times article for updates on the impact and the USGS website for additional information about the earthquake and aftershocks.

A red arrow on a seismometer reading shows when an earthquake occurred in Mexico.

 

GRCC seismometer records Idaho earthquake, North Korean explosion

September 5, 2017

This past weekend, the GRCC seismic station in Calkins, GRMI, recorded a flurry of events. Most prominent was a magnitude 5.3 earthquake in Soda Springs, Idaho, just before midnight on September 2. Small aftershocks and more events in Soda Springs were recorded in the following 24 hours. Another notable event is marked by the red arrow on the image below, this coincides well with the timing of an explosion in North Korea, recorded by seismometers around the world. For more information about this event and others, go to the USGS’s website.

A red arrow points out the moment an explosion in North Korea was recorded on GRCC's seismometer.

 

GRCC seismometer records Montana earthquake

July 21, 2017

On July 6, 2017 GRMI, the seismometer in the geology lab of Calkins, recorded a magnitude 5.8 earthquake near Helena in western Montana. Buried in the seismic trace of the larger earthquake were two aftershocks, one measuring 4.9 and the other 4.5 in magnitude. In the seismogram, we can see many aftershocks associated with the magnitude 5.8 earthquake. This swarm of earthquakes occurred as the result of strike-slip (horizontal) faulting along the Lewis and Clark line, a broad zone of faulting about 400 km in length, and up to 80 km wide that extends from Helena, Montana southwest into eastern Idaho. Other notable events from the Lewis and Clark line include the August 1959, magnitude 7.2 Hebgen Lake earthquake, the largest historic earthquake in this region. The Hebgen Lake earthquake triggered a massive landslide that resulted in more than 28 fatalities, mostly in campgrounds around the lake. Fortunately, this most recent quake caused only minor damage and no reported injuries. For more information about the earthquake visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s website.

Readings from GRCC's seismometer on July 6 show a lot of activity on the 40-minute mark.

Geology students take field trip to Indiana

April 3, 2017

GRCC historical geology students travelled to southern Indiana for a field trip to explore warm tropical waters. Unfortunately, the shallow inland seas that covered Indiana retreated hundreds of millions of years ago. Despite this temporal setback, students found ample evidence of these seas, including ripples from water lapping on ancient shore lines and the elusive Flexicalymene trilobite!

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Geology lab installs ‘augmented reality sandbox’

November 22, 2016

The Physical Science Department is pleased to announce the completion of the Augmented Reality sandbox. The AR sandbox is one of the newest teaching tools for students enrolled in geology courses in the Physical Science Department at GRCC. The AR sandbox projects virtual topography and water onto a real sandbox. Students can shape the sand, which is augmented in real time to show an elevation color map, contour lines, and water.

The AR sandbox is an important tool for GRCC geology students learning about topographic maps and contours lines. Through manipulating the sand and water features, students can explore geologic and hydrologic principles and learn about flooding, mass wasting, and volcanic hazards.

The prototype for the AR sandbox was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and built at UC Davis’ Department of Geology. Detailed instructions for constructing the sandbox and the free software are available online.

We are grateful to the following individuals for collaborating to build the AR sandbox here at GRCC:

  • Chad Senna, IT
  • Eric Schuemann, Tutoring Services
  • Michael Coluzzi, GRCC student
  • Pam Scott, Physical Science
  • Jim Steensman, Facilities
  • Jennifer Batten, Physical Science
  • Tari Mattox, Physical Science

You can see a video of the AR sandbox in action on the GRCC Physical Science Facebook page.

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Geology lab’s seismometer records New Zealand earthquake

November 15, 2016

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck New Zealand’s South Island at 12:02 a.m. Monday. The seismometer housed in GRCC’s geology lab recorded the earthquake approximately 19 minutes later. The first waves seen in the seismograms below are called body waves, they travel through the Earth, and are the fastest seismic waves. The later waves, that look more spread out, are surface waves. They travel along the surface of the Earth and are responsible for most of the damage caused by earthquake shaking. The earthquake was generated by movement along a fault close to the juncture of two tectonic plates. The nature of movement led to activation of the tsunami warning system in coastal communities close to the main shock. Evacuating residents were further rattled by dozens of aftershocks over the next 9 hours, some as large as magnitude 6.5. For more information about this and other earthquakes visit the United States Geologic Survey’s website.

 

Geology students explore Upper Peninsula

October 31, 2016

This October, students enrolled in the Physical Science Department’s geology program joined students from Grand Valley State University and Muskegon Community College in the Upper Peninsula to explore evidence of our continent’s tumultuous beginning. Students used their geology skills to study 1-2 billion year-old rocks exposed in the Marquette area. They moved from the “sea to the shore” as they identified submarine lava flows, beach sands now faulted and tilted to a near-vertical angle, ancient life forms called stromatolites, and stacked beds of pure iron ore deposited in Precambrian seas. Students returned to the Lower Peninsula with backpacks full of rocks and bellies full of pasties.

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GRCC seismometer picks up Oklahoma earthquake

September 7, 2016

The September 3 M5.6 earthquake in Oklahoma left a dramatic trace on GRCC’s seismometer. This station (GRMI), located in the geology lab of the Calkins Science Center, is part of the Michigan Regional Seismic Network (MIQuakes). This earthquake is similar in magnitude to one that shook Oklahoma earlier this year. More information about the earthquake and others in the region can be found on the U. S. Geological Survey’s website.

A seismometer shows an earthquake.

Congratulations to Sarah Barker!

July 22, 2016
Sarah Barker stands behind a sign that says: "Badwater Basin. 282 feet/855 meters below sea level."

Sarah Barker

The Physical Science Department is pleased to announce that GRCC geology student, Sarah Barker, was awarded an On To the Future (OTF) travel grant to attend this year’s Geological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. One of only 125 recipients in the nation, Ms. Barker was offered a travel grant, full meeting registration, and a one year membership to GSA.

From the OTF website:

On To the Future celebrates the growing diversity of the GSA community and the importance of GSA’s student membership through inviting, supporting, and mentoring an increased number of students from diverse backgrounds to their first GSA meeting. This community is designed to provide a place for OTF students to gain exposure to the wide array of geoscience research and career options available. It is intended to facilitate effective mentoring relationships and networking opportunities to help OTF students become engaged leaders in the scientific and professional community.