I can now check off another thing on my “list of things to do in life”: experience an earthquake. At about 1.54 today, I was on the 4th floor of the Physical Sciences Building, working diligently in my office, when the entire building began to sway back and forth. It felt like somebody was doing something incredibly forceful down in the basement. It wasn’t particularly violent shaking; the frequency was probably two Hertz or so. However, it was quite impressive for the building to be shaking that much. I’d estimate an amplitude of 5-10 cm and a gaussian envelope with FWHM of 8 seconds. Truly, a building should not shake like that. Indeed, it turns out that there was a magnitude 5.9 earthquake down in Virginia, about 400 miles away. It took the tremor 2-3 minutes to propagate through to up here (yay, physics in action!).
Here’s a seismology report on the quake. The earthquake was quite shallow; estimated at about 6 km. Apparently this means that there is a high probability of multiple aftershocks; indeed, as I write this, there are aftershocks of magnitude 3.4, 4.2, and 2.8 in the Virginia area, as well as a few more under 2.5 that weren’t registering on the list I saw. I didn’t feel any of these aftershocks however.
Otherwise, I know I’ve been a bad blogger… I’ve been doing a lot of work with my physics, which has been good. I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere, while for most of this year, I’ve been kind of floundering. The hope is to have another research paper out sometime soon. For those of you who know some physics, I’m going to be claiming that the esteemed Steven Weinberg got something wrong, which is quite a statement. (It’s only appropriate however; Weinberg got his Bachelor’s degree at Cornell ;-)). I’ll try to post a little more regularly, but don’t hold your breath.