Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Great Central US Shake Out

What are you doing on April 19 at 10:15 AM eastern time?

That's when The Great Central US ShakeOut's Indiana drill takes place. No matter what the "psychics" and pop prognosticators claim, there is no sure way to predict an earthquake. It can happen at any time, and with no advance notice. At least when a tornado occurs, we generally have some time to get to a safe place. Earthquake preparedness is not to be put off; it can literally be the difference between life and death for thousands of your neighbors in the Hoosier state.

From the ShakeOut site:
Indiana has several faults, but, unlike California’s famous San Andreas Fault, nearly all of our faults are buried and can’t be seen at the surface. Researchers have been able to map some faults in Indiana using evidence found in rocks from oil and gas wells and by employing a method called reflection seismic profiling. This method involves recording man-made vibrations reflected off layers of rock below the surface. Most of the faults that have been mapped in Indiana are located in the southwestern corner of the state. These faults extend into Illinois and are collectively known as the Wabash Valley Fault System.
The Indiana Geological Survey also offers an EarthQuake Hazard Map, showing which areas in Indiana are at the greatest danger of liquefaction. Unconsolidated sediment proves to be an effective medium for amplifying the waves of an earthquake, increasing the potential for damage. The soil which seems so solid under our feet starts to act like a liquid. A nifty demonstration of this, using a wheelbarrow, was created by a denizen of Christchurch, NZ after their recent earthquake.

The ShakeOut site also includes this video, illustrating how a drill is executed.

Relevant Links:
Indiana Department of Homeland Security's earthquake preparedness page
The Great Central US Shakeout's Indiana site

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Future of Under Indiana

Since it's been about three months between posts here, I figured I'd write a bit about what I'd like to do with the blog.

Basically, I'd like to bring in some other writers from Indiana. I'd like this to be something like Deep Sea News, a vibrant place for Indiana natural history and relevant current events to be discussed.

My other blog, Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs, has really picked up steam, and I can't forsake it to build this one all on my own. My wife and I are currently in the midst of figuring out our next step, which also takes a fair share of time - figuring out how I'd make a freelance career work (check out my new portfolio site), researching and applying to masters programs, sorting out just what we'd do with our current life in the event I start on one of those paths. Oh yeah - I work full time, too.

Still, I believe in the idea behind Under Indiana and I know it has a place in the science blogosphere as well as in local culture. Indiana has no shortage of fascinating prehistory, from the ancient Mississippian shores to the forces that shaped the shore of Lake Michigan. The remnants of Pennsylvanian coal forests have a direct and culture-shaping effect on us. There isn't a county in the state that doesn't reveal the influence of geology, and this is a valuable lesson for anybody with the curiosity and willingness to learn.

I'm open for ideas and for new contributors, and I'm mulling over ways to create the blog I envision. In the meantime, please let me know what you think via the comments or by email.

Interview with Hoosiers Doing Something

Head over to the blog Hoosiers Doing Something, written by fellow Indiana guy Erik Fox, to read an interview with yours truly. Erik asked me about what the paleoblog world is like, how dinosaurs stay so popular, and what it's like to get to know the deep history of your local area. You'll also get to see me hanging out with one of my favorite dudes of all time, Charles Darwin.