One of the aims of the SANIMS project is to promote the knowledge on seismology and Earth Sciences among young students. Thus, researchers of the Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera of the CSIC (ICTJA-CSIC) have installed 12 seismic stations in several secondary schools located in Barcelona area forming what the SANIMS project coordinators called ‘Educational Seismic Network’.
Seismic stations were installed in November and December of 2019 in 12 secondary schools. The education centers offered their premises to install one component (vertical)Raspberry Shake Seismometers. These seismometers transmit the recorded data to an external data base, which is online accessible in near real time.
"We’ve been able to deploy a seismic network with a high resolution scale, since it covers an area of approximately 10 km2 within the city. In addition, the geometry of the network allows us to cover the main geological units in the Barcelona area", said Jordi Díaz, researcher at ICTJA-CSIC and coordinator of the SANIMS project.
In return an introductory talk is given to the students of the involved schools by project members , with the main objective of increasing their curiosity about issues related to seismology and, in particular, how seismic waves are recorded and what information can be retrieved from their study.
"The idea is to use the fascination power of earthquakes to introduce students in Earth Sciences and stimulate their motivation to continue learning using the multiple tools available online", said Jordi Díaz.
“Our experience shows that students are attracted to directly see how the waves from distant earthquakes shake the school building in a detectable way, a fact that seems obvious to Earth scientists, but that is surprising to people without training in this field.”, added Díaz.
The introductory talks are complemented by a hands-on session in which the data acquired in each school are analyzed. Students are then able to notice, for example, the day/night and business day/weekend variations of the background noise, as well as the noise variations directly related to the scholar activity.
"The presence of Earth Sciences in the official secondary education curriculum has been decreasing in recent years and we strongly believe that it is urgent to carry out actions to attract students to this research area" says the ICTJA- CSIC researcher.
Beyond dissemination goals, the deployed network also has an scientific objective. Project coordinators want to check "if it is possible to obtain a tomographic subsurface image of the city from the data recorded by the network stations”.
Seismic networks installed in educational centers have been developed in other countries in the last 10 years, such as in the United States, Great Britain or Australia. According to SANIMS coordinators, these initiatives "have been proven to be useful for connecting students to Earth Sciences".
Diaz, J., Schimmel, M., Ruiz, M., & Carbonell, R. (2020). Seismometers Within Cities: A Tool to Connect Earth Sciences and Society . In Frontiers in Earth Science (Vol. 8, p. 9). https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/feart.2020.00009