Pupils jump to it in quake experiment
Friday 07 September 2001
If you feel the Earth move at 11am today, don't worry – it's probably just the children.
If you feel the Earth move at 11am today, don't worry – it's probably just the children. To initiate Science Year, one million of them will jump off chairs at more than 3,000 schools across Britain in an experiment to investigate whether humans can make their own earthquakes.
According to Steven Chapman of the British Association, if one million children weighing an average of 50kg (7st 12lb) jump from a height of 20cm (8in) they will release 100 million joules. If they do this 20 times in the allotted minute for the experiment, they will release two billion joules, the same amount of energy as is released in an earthquake measuring 3 on the Richter scale.
"Certainly it would be feasible for seismologists to measure it," Dr Chapman said. "There are typically 100,000 earthquakes of this magnitude in the world every year. Though their effects cannot be felt, they can be measured."
Dr Ted Nield of the British Geological Society said Britain had hundreds of magnitude 3 earthquakes every year, "but they don't do anything". Teams at the society will be able to monitor their seismographs to see whether the experiment succeeds or whether there were too many truants.
A long-standing hypothesis suggests that if everyone in China were to jump off a chair at the same time, the movement of the Earth would cause a giant wave, or tsunami, that would engulf the west coast of America.
For obvious reasons that remains untested. But earthquakes generated by humans alone are more common than one might expect, and are generally associated with rock concerts. When the pop group Madness played at Finsbury Park, north London, in August 1992, the co-ordinated jumping of fans caused a mini- earthquake that was equivalent to magnitude 4.5 – enough to cause nearby tower blocks to sway.
Dr Chapman said the inspiration for today's experiment was not from that incident. "It was one of our workers, actually, who said that they tried the same sort of thing in Australia."
Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'
Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Watch a man race the Circle line - and win
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
- 5 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Islamic State: Pope is 'being targeted by Isis', Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See warns
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
Scotland independence: A nation divided against itself: Brown says SNP are liars. Darling joins in. Salmond fights back
John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time: 'That was the lowest I'd ever felt'
Richard III: Two years after his body was found scientists discover how he died
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...