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FordhamScience: I Feel the Earth Move…


On Wednesday of this week, The New York Times City Room blog asked “Earthquake Shakes New York: Did You Even Notice?

It turns out some people did notice. They called their local news outlets, who in turn called the News and Media Relations Bureau at Fordham. They were all looking for Benjamin C. Crooker, Ph.D., associate professor of physics and director of the Fordham University Seismic Station.

We couldn’t reach Crooker that day, but happily for the readers of Science Friday, he did give a great interview to The Observer, the Lincoln Center student newspaper, in February: “Fordham Monitors World’s Seismic Activity.”

What about New York? Can a big one happen here? The odds are against it. The biggest quake in recent years here was in 2002, when a magnitude two earthquake hit New York City. It was caused by an “ancient” (meaning relatively inactive) fault, Cameron’s Fault, which runs through 125th street, said Crooker.

Inside Fordham also wrote about the Seismic Station a couple of years ago: “New York’s Shaky Legacy Traced to Rose Hill Underground.”

Fordham is one of a handful of broadband seismographic stations in the New York-New Jersey region that feeds its data to the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, which in turn compiles and sends all the regional data to Boulder. The Guralp DM24 CMG3T machine, which combines the functions of a seismometer and digitizer, helps researchers make, effectively, a “CAT scan of the Earth,” according to Crooker. “Fordham’s station is like one cell in a giant camera,” he said, “used to build a seismic map of the earth.”

Just in case you’re wondering, the earth did not move for the News and Media Relations staff on Wednesday.


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