Thursday, June 24, 2010
Seismography of the June 23 2010 Toronto Earthquake - and Real-time Tweets too!
This morning I've been working my search engine to try and find some more info about the 5.5 Magnitude Toronto/Ottawa earthquake of June 23 2010.
"The Hartford Courant" published a photo of the section of the University of Connecticut's seismograph that recorded the event.
The blue squiggle is the earthquake, the green rumbling is the seismologists jumping all around the lab with glee (I don't know that):
Yesterday, about a minute after the shaking stopped, I posted a report in the USGS "Did you feel it?" widget. These reports along with seismographic data, help scientists locate the earthquake and determine its' magnitude.
I was disappointed with the USGS site this morning, I was hoping I could take a snap shot of my report and the other reports to post here, in order to give readers a sense of the event from the point of view of people who recognized it in the first seconds and felt a need, or a duty to report it. The data I, and 1768 other Torontionians sent, didn't come back out of the machine though.
(An example of how more transparency would improve the reporting section of the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program site: for some unknown reason the number of reports today has gone up four fold, to 5669 reports from the 1768 one hour after the event. People reporting 8 - 10 hours later?)
There is a vast page of location reports with lots of data, but individual reports are hidden.
Maybe as part of the Open.gov initiative USGS Eartquake Hazards Program can make a widget that pumps more data out.
I should note here that Natural Resources Canada > Earth Sciences Sector > Earthquakes Canada has a similar reporting widget (actually an exact copy) at: "DID YOU FEEL IT? REPORT IT HERE!". They received 417 reports yesterday.
It looks like they had great plans at EarthquakesCanada, something about a Community Internet Intensity Maps (CIIM) data portal, but it looks like funding got cut and all the interactive stuff isn't - except the reporting widget. The site as it stands is so, Web 1.0.
Yesterday I wasn't on any of my social networking sites and not being totally convinced my experience was an earthquake, I didn't go to check my news feed (Twitter). This morning though, my historical search of Twitter allowed me to go back in time - in real time. One of the first people from my neighborhood to report the event on Twitter was @Radzyn.
Following her thread back you can see news of the event connecting neighborhoods as the event causes network boundaries to crumble; first tweets centre in Leslieville and then quickly to other Toronto neighborhoods, who chime in, "Yes! here in Leaside too!', and then out into the world.
This morning I wanted to find video of a Seismometer swinging wildly as the Toronto/Ottawa earthquake resonated around the globe. No such luck. We at least have a still shot of one such Seismometer, thanks to The Hartford Courant. So... by the look of it, there's little being done by University Geology Departments to show us how cool geologists are. That's too bad, people love earthquake stuff. Perhaps there's no budget for that sort of thing, it is after all, just a dalliance (NOT).
The advances in miniaturization and robotic production is making more scientific instruments available at lower costs. So now individuals can replace institutions in some areas of scientific research. Distributed data collection by amateurs is one area where this really works.
Near me there is a fellow with his own home weather station, he's got his own weather web site too, and he's part of the Weather Underground, a continent wide network of personal weather stations. Go to the Weather Underground site for your city and look through the list of weather stations you might find one very close to where you live that has it's own portal.
When I want local, real time data, or local records from the last 24 hours, months or years - the Upper Beaches Weather Watch station is the best, quickest place to go.
Now cost reductions and increased accuracy of small scientific interments has come to geology. For a mere US$659.90, you can be a Home Geologist, with your own Seismometer!
Can the "Seismic Underground" be far away?
Where do I get one of those white lab coats? :)