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Schools set for seismic time monitoring earthquakes

Friday, 4 June 2010

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster launched two seismic education and tourism initiatives at the Marble Arch Caves in Fermanagh, today.

The Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI), in partnership with the British Geological Survey (BGS) and Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark (MAC), has designed and installed an exhibit at the MAC visitors’ centre that features a seismometer which can detect signals from earthquakes.

To coincide with the launch of this exhibit, GSNI is piloting the Northern Ireland Schools Seismology Project. The project will show teachers and pupils how to record and study earthquakes. It will also help them share their data with other schools in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and right around the world.

Speaking at the Caves, Arlene Foster said: “Getting students directly involved in science can only enhance their understanding and their willingness to learn more. By making science ‘alive’ and introducing a ‘wow’ factor in classrooms, we can help make sure their drive for further knowledge continues.

“This will ensure that the future careers of our budding scientists are embedded at an early stage.”

The Minister added: “These new initiatives will give teachers and pupils alike the opportunity to gather information which could create a seismic shift in our knowledge of earthquakes.”

Garth Earls, Director, Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, said: “The sheer destructive power of earthquakes has always held a fascination for children and these two initiatives aim to nurture that natural interest. The NI Schools Seismology Project, in particular, will help in the teaching of geology, geography and physics and reinforce the idea that when science is relevant, students are more engaged.

“Actually detecting signals from events of global significance has a dramatic effect on pupils, making them realise that science is not a set of abstract ideas but a way of understanding how the real world actually works.”

GSNI is working in partnership with the British Geological Survey, Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, W5 at the Odyssey and University of Ulster at Coleraine to deliver the project.

Notes to editors:

  1. 1. For further information please contact Garth Earls, Director, Geological Survey of Northern Ireland.
  2. For media enquiries, please contact DETI Press Office on 028 9052 9297. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.