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Scientists Install Sensors to Study Earthquakes in Virginia

January 9, 2014

Scientists have begun the process of installing a 20-station network of sensors to help them collect data on fault lines and aftershocks occurring in Central Virginia. Homes and schools were badly damaged after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the Commonwealth in August of 2011. Since then, more than 450 aftershocks have been felt and scientists want to know why.

"We really don't understand why there are these isolated seismicity like the Central Virginia Seismic Zone," said Thomas Pratt, a research geophysicist who will be studying the data. "One of the goals of this project is to figure out what's different about this area and why we have earthquakes here but not other areas."

The seismic network will record tiny ground vibrations caused by earthquakes and their fault lines. Each sensor is only about the size of a soda can and will be placed in locations from Charlottesville to Richmond and along forty miles of Interstate 64. The installations are expected to be completed by January 13.

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