Making Tremors on the Seismograph

Trip Start Jun 04, 2010
Trip End Sep 08, 2010

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Where I stayed
House Guest of Michelle and Evelyn Merkel

Flag of United States  , Virginia
Friday, July 23, 2010

Went to the USGS (United States Geological Service) only 3 miles from where Michelle Lives. This is the National Center Headquarters of the USGS for our country, which serves as the Nation's premier earth and biological science agency. The USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is used to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters; safeguard the nation's natural resources and enhance the quality of life through the careful monitoring of our water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.
Self-guided tours of the indoor and outdoor exhibits are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. During fair weather months, visitors may tour the Woodland Walk and the Rock Garden Walk.

In 1930, the USGS purchased a Model A Ford coupe for $557. Geologist Foster Hewett used it in Death Valley, California from 1930 to 1956, then Geologist Levi Noble used it for mapping the Mohave Desert from 1956 to 1965.

"The Model A was essentially a stock car . . . Its high center, short turning radius and wheel base, relatively low gear ratio etc. made it a very good off-road vehicle, and we took it places where a 4-wheel drive vehicle would be necessary today-although this was long before the advent of the latter. For instance we once traversed the heart of the Owl Mountains from the northwest clear to the Death Valley front . . . not to mention the back side of the Black Mts. and the Funerals and Grapevines in the east." -Donald Curry (accompanied Levi Noble in his mapping of the Mohave Desert)

Be sure to visit and add this link to 'Favorites' on your web browser. The USGS web site at There are a lot of links and information available.

There weren't a lot of things to take pictures of, the rocks on the nature walk were not worth blogging on. We saw a Seismograph, an instrument that detects the presence of an earthquake and measures and records its magnitude.  They had it set with a monitor right under the floor where we were standing.  I was able to stomp my foot and cause a jiggle of the needle for a small tremor.  Kinda cute! 
But if you ever get to the Reston area just outside of Washington DC the USGS is a nice couple of hours stop.  The ladies in the USGS store were very nice and helpful.  There are even maps you can get for free. 

May God bless the many people in this country who have jobs and careers that take care of our needs from behind the scenes of life.
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