Anchorage, Alaska (KTUU) – A new program is bringing seismographs to Alaskan schools to teach students about earthquakes.
The Alaska Seismology Program in Schools is paid in part with award funding from UAF undergraduate student and Alaska Earthquake Center outreach specialist Gabriel Low.
“I think it started as an idea, a dream,” Lu said.
Lu said the program is equipping schools with seismometers that provide seismograph and spectrum readings from a company called Raspberry Shake. The seismogram shows the movement of the Earth over a period of time and the spectrogram shows the intensity of those movements at different frequencies.
Each class can even see data from other devices — including those at other schools — over the Internet. Raspberry Shake devices are internet-based and require no additional software.
“It’s a game-changer in educational seismology,” Lu said.
Students at Seward High School, Kuinerararmiut Elitnaurviat School in Cuenhac, and West Anchorage High School can see thousands of devices connected to compare data.
Students first test Raspberry Shake devices by jumping to make a “stomping earthquake”. Students remain very still to allow the seismometer readings to regress, then jump around so they can watch the Raspberry Shake capture their motion.
One of the program’s first devices was sent to Elijah Dorsey’s class in Koenhac. Dorsey said his students generally don’t feel much earthquake.
“Because my kids aren’t from a city, for those who want to go to college, or who want to go to trade school or any of those roads that will take them away from here and our tundra, I want to make sure they know, there’s something that isn’t necessarily what I’ve experienced. , but it’s a real thing that people in other places have to worry about,” Dorsey said.
Their mission is to improve research, monitoring, and public engagement in Alaska to build resilience to earthquakes and tsunamis, said seismologist and cartographer at the Alaska Earthquake Center, Leah Jardine.
“They will be the future decision makers in their communities, and more understanding now — not only how they look at the waveforms that have been recorded but how this fits into their communities — is vital to preparing for the future,” said Jardine.
Lu said the program is a huge success and the students are really interacting with the data. Currently, there are 10 locations across the state, with plans to add additional Raspberry Shake devices in more classrooms.
Students can join the new Shake Ambassador Club to meet online with other students from across the state. At the meetings, they discussed what their devices had picked up. The club aims to give children a chance to drive.
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