Loras Seismic Station captures Haiti aftershock - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Loras Seismic Station captures Haiti aftershock

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- A powerful aftershock hit Haiti Wednesday morning. The 6.1 magnitude earthquake was the strongest the nation has experienced since the devastating earthquake eight days ago.

Right here in Eastern Iowa, the aftershock was detected underground. You probably didn't feel it, but computers in Dubuque did. Deep beneath the ground of Loras College, a one of a kind seismograph station monitors underground activity.

"It happened about 5 a.m.," said Associate Professor Dan Neebel.

Nearly, 4,300 miles away an aftershock hit Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

"The aftershock was only 5.9. Not much left there to fall down anymore but even that earthquake is quite a bit less strong than the other ones," said Neebel.

Only 12 minutes later the seismograph computer showed activity in Dubuque.

"I'm sure no one here actually felt the effects of the Haitian earthquake. The reason we see it is because our instruments are so sensitive that if there's a large earthquake, actually anywhere in the world even as far away as Japan, the instruments will record the motion in the ground here," said Neebel.

This seismograph is so sensitive that even a simple kick can register on the computer which is why Wednesday's aftershock in Haiti was measured in Dubuque.

Neebel discovered the aftershock after reviewing the computer's online database that was transmitted from the machine to the computer and then to a Web site.

"The structure of the machine is to the point where it has to be set on solid ground, down in the bedrock. So a very deep hole is dug here."

It's not the first time this instrument has felt an earthquake. Last Tuesday's 7.0 earthquake in Haiti was also detected. Just five minutes after it struck Haiti the meter bounced to almost measurable amounts.

While no one felt either quakes in Dubuque, deep beneath the ground on a sheet of bedrock Wednesday's aftershock was enough to register.

Neebel says Loras College uses the seismograph station for educational purposes. But the station is one of a kind in Iowa. Thanks to the computer, Neebel only goes down to the seismograph a few times a year.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

Follow Lauren on Twitter.

Powered by Frankly