Skidmore College Geosciences Department Picks Up Richmond, VA, Earthquake on Seismometer – UPDATED

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY) – Did you feel any shaking on Tuesday, August 23, 2011, a little before 2pm? It would have been for between 20 and 30 seconds. Well if you did, it was likely the magnitude 5.9 earthquake outside of Mineral, Virginia, which struck at 1:51pm and occurred 3.7 miles below the surface of the earth. The epicenter was 36 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia, and 88 miles southwest of Washington, DC. According to the USGS (United States Geological Survey) Theoretical P-Wave Travel Times, Saratoga Springs, NY would have felt the quake 1.5 minutes later than when the earthquake happened. This was the largest earthquake to ever occur in central Virgina, according to records. The previous one was a magnitude 4.8 in 1875. In Washington DC, the Capitol Building, Pentagon, and all national memorials were evacuated. Two nuclear reactors were taken offline, but no damage was reported. Flights out of DC, NY, and Philadelphia were delayed. In Mineral, Virginia, itself, the town hall roof collapsed. (UPDATE 8/24) For some more detailed local and regional geology and the context of the earthquake, see this post by Callan Bentley at Northern Virginia Community College. As you can see in the seismograph, the largest recording begins at 17:52 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). This is the same as 1:52 pm EST (Eastern Standard). This is the P-Wave, followed by the slower S-Waves, which appear as the taller part of the recording. On this same date, August 23, 2011, the seismograph also picked up another earthquake. This other one was a magnitude 5.3, located 180 miles south of Denver, CO, which occurred at...

We’re Hiring

The Skidmore College GIS Center for Interdisciplinary Research is hiring two new students for the fall semester. The job is focused on developing advanced knowledge and skills in spatial data management and analysis through development of campus data, database administration, and the support of research projects. The Lab Assistant will also work on pilot testing for classroom and research technology, specifically location based technology such as mobile devices and Ipads. This position may also incorporate open source technology and server based mapping technology. So what is it really like to work at the GIS Center? It’s a project team atmosphere, technologically rich, striving to advance the uses and applications of location based information in education. We make mystery maps, do a lot of technology testing, organize and use data, and look for new ways to visualize information. People who have been successful in this position have been organized, self motivated, independent, able to learn and adopt new technologies, good at communicating verbally and in writing, and may have some programming experience or are willing to jump into it. If you are looking to gain management skills, there may be opportunities for you here as well. So what are you waiting for? Check out the job for Laboratory Assistant...
GIS Center Adds Some Mystery to the Skidmore Campus

GIS Center Adds Some Mystery to the Skidmore Campus

In Fall 2010 the Skidmore College GIS Center for Interdisciplinary Research decided to add a little mystery to the Skidmore Campus. Alex Chaucer coordinated with his student assistants, Sarah Llewleyn ’12, Greg Lloyd ’11, Aaron Miller ’12 and Andrew Noone ’11 to create a series of mystery maps for the campus to try and figure out. A mystery map is a map that shows some spatial data, but usually lacks traditional map marginalia like an informative title and a legend. By visualizing data without these conventions, the map viewer must observe the spatial pattern or distribution of the map data, and try to guess what it might represent. For example, what might a map that shows varying degrees of red around the campus and blue in the woods represent? Last semester, this was one of our mystery maps, and it represented air temperature and was based on some data being collected using small temperature sensors around campus in one of Cathy Gibson’s courses looking at the urban heat island effect.   We decided to being creating mystery maps to engage the Skidmore population in a relatively simple spatial thought activity. By creating these maps and printing them out and hanging them on the wall outside the GIS Center in the Dana Science Center atrium, and also posting them on the GIS Center blog, we hoped that this would be a creative way to engage the community in spatial thinking, and to get people to think about maps and mapping. Also, we hoped that this project could also bring awareness to some of the research being done around the campus...

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