Bigfoot education and outreach

by Lon Abbott and Terri Cook
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

USArray has offered an unprecedented opportunity for earth scientists to explain to the public how we conduct experiments and test hypotheses, and what we aim to learn from the results.

With 400 Bigfoot stations marching across the country, many scientists have been out knocking on doors asking landowners and land managers for permission to place a station on their land. Those landowners tend to be curious about what the instrument is, what it does and what we hope to learn from the data it collects. Through this, the public has gained a greater appreciation for what earth scientists do and how exciting it can be to learn about the way the Earth works.

A number of TA stations have also been sited at schools. When students observe the seismic record of an earthquake that was recorded at their school, the otherwise abstract work of a seismologist suddenly becomes tangible and engaging. USArray scientists have also designed classroom activities for students of all ages, from elementary school to college, helping to educate the American public about earthquake hazards and excite them about geoscience.

More information can be found at

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