Educating School Students About Seismology

Quake Trackers, an educational programme designed to promote science education and earthquake hazard awareness in New Zealand, was first started in 1998. However, the relatively expensive and complex equipment required led to limited participation by schools.

The programme is to be revitalised by using a simple, robust and reliable seismograph.

The Quake Trackers programme development team had been led by John Taber of Victoria University of Wellington and Mike Kozuch of the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences and, by the time it faded in 2003, fifteen colleges and schools had been participating using their own seismographs.

The programme seems to have suffered from a number of factors – key staff changes, high equipment costs for schools, and lack of a long-term management structure.

The original website for Quake Trackers gives an overview of the programme as it was established, but may soon disappear as part of a makeover.

The Quake Tracker programme goals have been revised and more cost-effective and robust equipment is to be made available. The revitalised project will benefit from the ground-breaking work carried out by the original development team combined with up-to-date web tools.

An advisory board comprising representatives from The Royal Society of New Zealand, GNS Science, Victoria University of Wellington and the Earthquake Commission will oversee the programme. The NZ Geophysical Society, the NZ Society of Earthquake Engineering and the NZ Association of Science Educators will also participate.

A simple, robust and reliable AS-1 seismograph developed in the USA for similar purposes will be used, and The Royal Society of New Zealand will manage the programme on a day-to-day basis.

[sources – the original Quake Trackers website and the Earthquake Commission’s “Ru Whenua” issue 15, March 2007.]

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