The massive earthquake that hit Haiti last week has devastated the region, and captured the world's attention as relief efforts continue underway. Via Symmetry Breaking, I learned that the Tevatron accelerator at Fermilab actually detected the quake, despite being 2500 miles away — making it the world's most expensive seismic detector. Per Symmetry:
They had seen squiggles like these before–during a 2007 quake in
The sensors in question actually are low-resolution seismometers, so the sensitivity isn't surprising. The Tevatron crew monitors such activity fairly closely, because even though the tremors detected are so tiny, they are more than sufficient to disrupt the delicate measurements made at the laboratory.
Meanwhile, Physics Today has an excellent description of the science behind the Haitian earthquake — the region is home to "a highly complex tangle of tectonic faults " — detailing the factors that turned it into a "perfect storm" of devastation:
According to Jian Lin, a geophysicist at the