Weston Observatory Helps to Detect Japanese Earthquake

The Weston Observatory, nestled in the woods of Weston, helped to detect the Japanese earthquake that struck Friday morning.

It's hard to believe that almost 10,000 miles and 14 time zones away, a building in Weston felt and recorded the devastating earthquake in Japan.

But that's exactly what the was designed for.

The pens on the seismographs were going crazy this morning, said Dr. John Ebel, a geophysicist and director of the observatory.

"We're accumulating our data with data from all over the world," said Ebel.

The observatory has both the standard drum recorder and computers monitoring the data of seismic activity all around the world 24 hours a day, and one of the computers sent out a phone alert at 12:46 a.m. Friday, said Ebel.

Employees at the observatory generally work standard business hours but the mood today is one of all hands on deck, said Ebel, to monitor the data, make sure it is being reported to the government and to speak with the media.

"We are going crazy—the telephones are ringing constantly," he said.

Weston Observatory is linked together with other observatories throughout the world via the Internet or satellite links, said Ebel, and any data it receives becomes part of a greater effort to measure and record seismic data.

The observatory will continue to receive data from Japan and will record any aftershocks greater than a 6.0 magnitude, said Ebel.

"As it continues, we'll continue to see it," he said.

Most of the data is coming from northern Honshu every few minutes, said Ebel.

"We're going to see a few dozen of the aftershocks," he said.

Aol News is reporting the earthquake was of 8.9 magnitude and is causing tsunami waves of at least 3 feet. Hawaii and the west coast of the U.S. are under tsunami warnings, as the first waves hit Hawaii at about 6 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.


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