ON OUR SCHOOL RECORD
SCIENCE AND GEOGRAPHY STUDENTS at Scoil Chonglais in Baltinglass recorded two earthquakes on the school's seismograph which ended up causing such devastation in Japan resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of people.
The first recording was made during the early hours of Wednesday morning and measured 7.4 on the Richter Scale. The second was recorded on Friday morning and measured 8.9 on the Richer Scale. Seismologists have since upgraded the size of the second ‘Super quake' to 9.0, making it twice as powerful as first thought. Science Teacher, Stephen Gammell, said the students initial interest in the recordings were soon overcome by genuine concern as images of the mayhem caused by the tsunami reached Irish TV screens.
‘ The level of curiosity among the students was huge. They were amazed they could measure vibrations taking place off the coast of Japan from a school in west Wicklow.
‘ There were lots of questions over why this happened and what caused the tsunami. Then the devastation caused really impacted on them. They were horrified, saying imagine how
terrible it would be to get caught up in something so destructive.'
The second earthquake originated under the Pacific Ocean and was more than 30 times stronger. It's one of the largest earthquakes on record and triggered the tsunami which struck the coast of Japan as well as Indonesia, New Zealand and other Pacific-Basin countries.
Mr. Gammell adds that the students were extremely touched by some of the scenes of the aftermath of the huge tsunami, especially having watched the natural disaster escalate from so a-far.
‘ It was somewhat of a personal experience for them. They now have a link with it and spent a great deal of their weekend watching news coverage of the disaster.
‘ I'm sure you will see students start to organise a number of fundraisers now for relief efforts.'
Scoil Chonglais is one of 50 or so schools nationwide involved in the Seismology in Schools Programme, an initiative aimed at promoting physical sciences among students.
‘ The Baltinglass school was actually the first in the country to possess a seismometer and students have now detected 30 earthquakes since 2008.
Scoil Chonglais students Emilie Flannigan, Kelsey Kirby and Roberto Allegrini monitor the Japanese earthquake on the schools seismograph in Baltinglass, Co Wicklow.