Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Science Technology

How Telescopes Deal With Earthquakes In Chile 82

Reader edgeofphysics provides a technical sidelight on the earthquake in Chile this morning — some details on how the European Southern Observatory protects the mirrors of the Very Large Telescope when an earthquake strikes. "Given that Chile is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, how do astronomers protect their giant telescopes that have been built or are being built in the Chilean Andes? This blog post discusses how Chile's most advanced facility protects its priceless 8.2-meter primary mirrors in the event of an earthquake."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How Telescopes Deal With Earthquakes In Chile

Comments Filter:
  • We get 5s like every 2 months or sometimes more often. We only worry about earthquakes like the one last night, and only very old structures (usually adobe) or very crappy ones (like construction companies that like to "save" a little too much on materials) came down. The rest are holding on and in good shape.
  • Re:Better than (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Saturday February 27, 2010 @08:41PM (#31300958)

    Richter scale is a useful measure for geologists as it measures the approximate total energy released in the quake on a log scale.

    Structural engineers on the other hand measure earthquakes mostly by maximum G load incurred and the type of waves.

    Long duration earthquakes (as this one appears to be) are generally less destructive then they would appear based only on their Richter rating.

    More data is sure to come regarding the peak intensity of shaking.

  • Re:Better than (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Natales ( 182136 ) on Saturday February 27, 2010 @10:35PM (#31301776)

    Look, Chile implemented some really good construction codes after the 1985 quake in Santiago, which coupled to the remarkable economic growth and new buildings built after that, has resulted in a highly improved situation, which has been proven today. But that is mostly in Santiago. Look at what's going on in Concepción, Talcahuano and the smaller communities in the South...

    The fact that building codes are much better now is NOT an excuse to be arrogant. Even 1,000 deaths is a lot of people. People with families. I'm also a Chilean geek living in Silicon Valley, and I've spent all day using all available technology to connect not only with my family, but to help others connect with their loved ones. Live Chilean Internet TV + Tweeter + Facebook + Google Voice with SMS and my Asterisk-Gizmo SIP link + IM + Skype + probably more that I'm forgetting now.

    Instead of betting on the number of deaths and brag about the building codes, get off your ass and start helping in any way you can.

  • by toddestan ( 632714 ) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @08:28PM (#31310456)

    Well, if you extend the 100 year timespan a bit, you can include the 1906 San Francisco quake, which is the worst quake in US history in terms of loss of life and property damage. The fact that the loss of life since then has been so low has a lot to do with the lessons learned from that quake.

Variables don't; constants aren't.