Mercer Professor measures effects of Japan's 9.0 Earthquake in Central Georgia.
On Friday March 11th the world awoke to unbelievable sights and sounds playing out on TV and covering the front page of the morning paper. While the world was in shock from the 9.0 quake, the shock waves were felt worldwide.
When the quake occurred, life in Macon was moving as usual, what we didn't realize is that the ground was moving too, although it was so subtle we didn't even notice.
Where it was noticed was on the campus of Mercer University by The Volksmeter. This device was created by Professor of Physics Dr. Randall Peters and is the first fully digital seismograph.
"Now you might say wow why did we not then feel the ground moving through half a centimeter? Well, the reason is it's just a slow motion," says Dr. Peters.
The Volksmeter was able to pick up on this slight shift in acceleration and subsequent aftershocks.
"What you find following a big earthquake like this especially is that there's a very large number of aftershocks," says Dr. Peters.
Dr. Peters says this massive quake is all part of a natural cycle the earth goes through to account for the uneven weight on its plates.
"You reach a point where one grain can be the straw that breaks the camel's back and cause an avalanche. That's the way an earthquake happens," says Dr. Peters.
The lack of warning makes these events so traumatic.
"The holy grail as it were for seismology is the ability to predict both magnitude size and place of an earthquake, we're not there," says Dr. Peters.
With continued research and monitoring of the earth with inventions such as The Volksmeter, seismologists hope to get a better grasp on this phenomenon. For now, its just a game of probabilities.
"You hear some of them saying that somewhere in California we're getting close to paying the piper, in the time of a century you can get those degree of changes," says Dr. Peters.