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February 28, 2001, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake, located some thirty
miles below the surface of the earth and a few miles away from Olympia
Washington, moved the ground for a bit more than half a minute.
tracing pendulum, located at a shop in Port Townsend called Mind Over
Matter, produced some very interesting patterns. (Contact: 888-385-3853
or via e-mail at email@example.com.)
us who have done disaster relief work after major earthquakes don't
often think of them as having an artistic bent, but the tracings the
pendulum made during this quake demonstrate that they can be rather
creative when they have an appropriate tool at hand!
originally sending a less fully designed page to a couple of
seismologists and a geomorphologist on the evening of the event, these
photos have really made the rounds! After hearing from people all over
the world, we've decided to provide a bit more information for those of
you who are interested.
Matter has a source for the pendulums, should you wish to purchase one.
Please feel free to contact them, using the above information, for more
some of the photos taken shortly after the ground stopped moving:
curves you see to the outside of the "earthquake rose" are
what you normally see when the pendulum moves according to the laws of
Newtonian physics...and without seismic assistance. You can see the
patterns left when someone started the pendulum on two separate
occasions before the earthquake.
earthquake's handiwork is the design in the center.
to one of the geophysicists we sent the photos to, "The images are
quite esthetically pleasing. I had not thought about the possibility of
creating art in this way."
sand preserves two features of the earthquake waves quite nicely. The
"flower" in the center records the surface movements
associated with the higher frequency waves that arrived first. The
outer larger amplitude oscillations record the lower frequency waves
that arrived later. I suspect that the axis of these oscillations was
almost north-south (ie directed towards the epicenter)."
once everything started to slow down after the shaking stopped, the
pendulum slowed to a stop, gradually "overwriting" the
pattern in tighter circles as it moved back to its natural center. If
you look at it closely, you'll note that the pendulum was apparently
centering in one spot, and then moved a final time to come to rest in a
slightly different location. As a result, we're thinking that there may
have been a bit of last minute settling in the ground, and there will
be an engineer coming to check the building for signs of problems.
following two images are close-ups of the design made by the quake. The
second is contrast enhanced to help you see more detail.
several positive comments from all over the globe about this unique
peek at the effects of an earthquake. We were fortunate to come through
this one with as little damage and injury as we did, and we hope you
share our sense of awe at what beauty can come from even the
destructive forces of nature. Our hearts go out to those whose
experience with earthquakes has been far more painful than what we went
through with this one.