NEWS of the devastating earthquake in Japan has rocked the world and sent Headlands School’s seismometer off the scale.
Such was the force of the quake, the school’s seismometer picked up on it the instant it hit at around 5am our time last Friday, before the western media was even aware of it, and its force was by far the strongest measured by the equipment.
The detection machine, which was donated to the school by Leeds University, has picked up several smaller quakes over the last few months, but last Friday it brought the reality of the disaster 6,000 miles away right into the classroom in Bridlington.
Dr Hamish Harron, head of science at Headlands, said: “It was so big that the machine couldn’t cope with it.
“It is the biggest earthquake we have ever measured here, the line was capped off because it was off the scale.
“Now we have equipment here that actually measured the quake, it means students are made aware of it in a different way.”
Because the seismometer picked up the quake at its birth, it meant that Headlands was housing equipment that had collected information on the disaster before the rest of the world was even made aware of it.
Dr Harron said: “It started measuring it just before 5am, long before it was reported in the news, so in that sense we were ahead of the media.
“Students of all age groups came down to have a look at it and were able to talk about it in their tutor time. They are fascinated by it.”
Dr Harron explained the seismometer reading: “At the far right hand side of the 5am line, the quake arrived in Bridlington.
“At this time no-one knew just how big an Earthquake this was going to be.
“The shock waves from the quake had spread out after travelling thousands of miles through the Earth, and continued to get bigger and bigger until it reached its peak at about 6.30am, dying away by about 7.30am in the morning.
“The quake was by far the biggest measured at Headlands and both the staff and students at Headlands were stunned as news pictures came through showing the devastating wave.
“Many staff showed the seismometer signal to demonstrate how such destructive power can touch the whole planet.”