GRAND RAPIDS — Earthquakes can be felt in different areas all across the world, but what causes them? Earthquakes can be very strong and destructive shaking the earth when they occur. Why do they seem to come out of no where though? We will learn more with today's experiment so let's get started!
What you need:
- Cardboard box
- Piece of string
- A nail
- Paper clips
Step 1: Remove one side of the cardboard box and punch a small hole with the nail in the top and bottom of the box
Step 2: Tie a string through the holes so that it runs from top to bottom within the box
Step 3: Place 4 to 5 paper clips on the string inside the box
Step 4: Place the box on a table or another surface you can strike to make it virbrate
Step 5: Hit the table hard enough to cause energy waves to travel through the box
Step 6: If you hit the table hard enough the paper clips will start to vibrate back and forth. Experiment with moving the box to different surfaces, adding or removing some paper clips and changing the thickness of the string. See what happens!
We just created an earthquake! Earthquakes are caused by a sudden slip or shift on a fault between the tectonic plates of the earth’s crust.
These plates are always moving but when stress occurs on the edge of those plates and overcomes friction that slip happens and energy waves are released through the earth’s crust which produces the earthquake and shaking we feel.
All earthquakes produce p and s waves. They are also known as primary and secondary waves with primary being faster and secondary slower. They can travel through solids, liquids and gases. So for our experiment we saw p waves travel through the table causing the paper clips to vibrate.
There you have it, we created an earthquake! Send our meteorologist Candace Monacelli your pictures doing this experiments at home! She will feature future meteorologists on my Facebook page daily!