Earth Science Information Center (ESIC) Public Display


Three action exhibits on earthquakes are on public display at the Denver Federal Center's Earth Science Information Center.  If you're in the Denver area you are welcome to visit the exhibit, which is located in Lakewood, during working hours.  Here's a map to help you find your way.


Soft first story exhibit

A common building design flaw is to make the first story much more flexible than the upper stories.  During an earthquake the upper floors tend to move as a unit while the first floor flexes a great deal.  This can cause collapse of the first floor, as happened during to some apartment buildings during the 1994 Northridge earthquake in California.



Building Response Depends on Height

The predominant frequency of earthquake shaking will effect different buildings in different ways.  Watch MPEG videos that show four buildings of different heights respond to low, medium, and high frequency waves.

A much longer video (3 MB) shows the response as the frequency is slowly increased.

These shake table mechanisms were designed and donated by Dennis Ambrisco.  If you want to make your own shake table, check out his deisgn.


Make Your Own Earthquake

A pad next to the display invites visitors to Make Your Own Earthquake.

Dennis Ambrisco watches the monitor: a geophone beneath the display is attached to a computer that displays a seismogram of vibrations caused by his recent jump.


The "jump station" uses a DI-154 ADC made by DATAQ with their WinDaqLiteDemo software.  The software setting are:

View/FormatScreen/1 Waveform
[Press "up arrow" to increase gain setting.]
Scaling/Waveform [Down or Up to center trace]
Change to "full screen" mode.

Close up of the screen showing a "jump" event.