Check out this 21-second video of the magnitude-5.9 earthquake that rattled Virginia, Washington D.C. and elsewhere on the U.S. East Coast yesterday (August 23, 2011).
The earthquake also caused an up-and-down motion of ground across the U.S., as the video shows. Red is upward motion, and blue down. The intensity of the color represents the height of the seismic wave rippling through the solid Earth.
And how high were those seismic waves? Only about 40 microns top-to-bottom, or less than the thickness of a human hair.
Extremely sensitive seismometers from the EarthScope project Transportable Array gathered the data that made this animation possible. Read more about the technique that created this video here.
EarthSky blogger Shireen Gonzaga sent this video our way. Thanks Shireen! Phil Plait has an extended explanation of it on the Bad Astronomy blog. Phil … you’re the best.
Made us wonder if what we were told yesterday by Rafael Abreu might have a shade of gray to it. When we asked, he said the August 22 5.3-magnitude Colorado earthquake was not related to the 5.9-magnitude Virginia earthquake that struck 12 hours, 4 minutes later.
Bottom line: The EarthScope project Transportable Array gathered data that made possible a very cool animation, showing seismic waves rippling across the U.S. following the August 23, 2011, 5.9-magnitude earthquake, whose epicenter was in Virginia.