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Entries in Earthquakes (3)

Tuesday
Apr162013

Earthquakes Rock Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) -- A series of earthquakes hit the Oklahoma City area early Tuesday morning.

According to the United States Geological Survey's website, the Oklahoma City metropolitan area was hit by seven seismic events on Tuesday.

The Oklahoma City area is home to multiple fault lines and is prone to earthquake activity. Multiple quakes in succession are also common in the area.

The first quake, measured at magnitude 3.0, struck southwest of Chandler, Okla., at 2:45 a.m. EST.

The next three tremors occurred within 15 kilometers of Luther, Okla., between 2:56 and 3:17 a.m. EST. The second quake, a magnitude 4.3, was the strongest of the day. It was followed soon after by a pair of earthquakes measuring magnitudes of 2.9 and 3.3.

Three additional quakes hit near Luther between 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

People in the Oklahoma City area reported being woken up by the tremors, but there are no reports of structural damage. Officials do expect that the foundations of some buildings will have suffered cracks.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep142012

Earthquake First Responders: Cockroaches?

iBionicS(NEW YORK) -- Move over search-and-rescue dogs.  First-responding cockroaches might be the next big thing in disaster response.

Researchers at North Carolina State University in Raleigh hope the unsightly pests can be put to good use, saving lives in disasters like earthquakes, fires and chemical attacks.

“Our research is basically to turn insects into beasts of burden as we did with larger animals: horses and camels,” Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor at N.C. State’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, told ABC News.

The bugs carry “backpacks” equipped with sensors that could potentially carry microphones to transmit audio or low-grade video cameras for video from their environment.

They are steered around in tight crevices and rubble -- say from an earthquake -- using their antennas that interpret low-grade electrical pulses as an obstacle the bug needs to avoid.

A video released at the iEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society conference in San Diego last month shows the cockroaches successfully being steered along a curved line drawn by researchers.

“We are interested in finding people after the earthquakes, under the building,” Bozkurt said. “The first sensor one can envision could be tiny microphones to listen to the help calls.”

The advantage of using the tiny creatures lies in both their size -- they are smaller than humans and dogs -- and their strength.

Bozkurt’s research uses the Madagascar hissing cockroach, one of the largest species of cockroach, which are small enough to slip into small cracks between rocks, but large enough to carry their potentially lifesaving loads. The bug can grow up to 3 inches long.

“Insects are self powered,” he said.  “It’s like riding a horse, as long as you feed the insect it will keep going.”

The radio that sends a signal back to rescuers waiting outside will be powered by tiny batteries.

Researchers are continuing to perfect the technology, looking for more ways to make tiny circuits even smaller, exert more precise control over the insect and move them around in a 3-D environment.

But Bozkurt expects that their work could make a huge difference after disasters in densely populated urban areas.

“It’s a huge mess and somewhere in the middle your kid is crying, asking for help and you want to help them as soon as possible,” Bozkurt said.  “So the only help would come from huge machines which dig through the rubble and it’s not very efficient.  So we’re trying to make this process more efficient.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr172012

Earthquake Scientists Give 5-Story Building the Shake Test

UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering(SAN DIEGO) -- On the world’s largest outdoor shake table, a team of engineers at the University of California, San Diego, Tuesday began a two-week series of tests to study how a five-story, concrete building -- and its contents -- react when hit by an earthquake.

“For the first time, they’ve integrated the nonstructural components -- the pieces of everyday life -- that have not been tested before,” said Joshua Chamot, the engineering media officer for the National Science Foundation, which is supporting the $5 million project.

Researchers hope that the project reveals what needs to be done to keep buildings such as hospitals and other high-value sites up and running during a quake and helps improve design and construction practices.

The building is located at the foundation’s Englekirk Structural Engineering Center, one of 14 large-scale engineering test beds.  It contains an intensive-care unit, a surgery suite, a stairwell and working elevator.

Tara Hutchinson, a professor at the university’s Jacobs School of Engineering and the lead principal investigator, said the tests were like “giving a building an EKG to see how it performs” after an earthquake.

More than 500 sensors and more than 70 cameras throughout the building will allow researchers to examine how these things are affected during a quake.

Chamot said the infrastructure would be shaken by tremors similar to the earthquakes that struck Northridge, Calif., in 1994 and Chile in 2010.  The 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile killed more than 700 and destroyed more than 500,000 homes.

The testing, which is supported by various organizations, will also examine how a building’s fire barriers, including sprinkler systems, work after an earthquake.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio