Quakefinder Blog

QuakeFinder STEM Project

QuakeFinder is getting close to finishing the deployment of the earthquake monitoring sites along the major faults in California. We currently have 132 sites installed in California, but we have a problem. There are several areas that are magnetically noisy (e.g. along the Hayward fault in the San Francisco-East Bay, in the LA area, including Palos Verde, Long Beach, Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Carson, Hollywood, and Ventura). These are areas where the fault lines are located near highly congested neighborhoods, and magnetometers don’t work very well due to the proximity to man-made noise (e.g. BART trains, cars, houses, machinery, oil drilling, etc.). However, Ion sensors do work in these congested locations. Rather than give up, we decided to develop a “Mini-Monitor” instrument that includes 2 Ion detectors, temperature, humidity, and air pressure sensors—but no magnetometers. Furthermore, we decided to make these instruments into “kits” so that we could donate them to high schools as part of a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Project. In December, we donated 7 of 20 kits to 7 high schools along the Hayward Fault. Early this year, we plan to donate another 13 kits to the LA areas listed above and other schools that might be interested in participating in this STEM project. The idea is to have high school students build the kits and install them at their schools or parents’ homes, to connect them to our QuakeFinder Data Center via the Internet, and to share the data with the world along with all the other 132 QuakeFinder magnetometer and ion sites. Furthermore, they will be able to download their instrument’s data to actually participate in our earthquake forecasting research—or to use the data as part of a more general weather or pollution monitoring experiment. If you know of a high school that might be interested in participating, please have them contact us.