Indiana State University Newsroom

Experience an earthquake simulator on Sept. 4

August 30, 2013

The Midwest has experienced significant earthquakes in the past and will in the future, and some geologist say there is increased earthquake risk in the Wabash Valley.

Educational experience provided by the earthquake simulator help prepare people for hazards associated with an earthquake. The simulator will be at Wolf Field on the corner of 4th and Chestnut Street at Indiana State University, on Sept. 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with an hour break for lunch at noon. Students, faculty and the rest of the Terre Haute community, are welcome to attend this event. To participate on the simulator, children must be at least 8 years old and have written permission from a parent. The event is organized by Michelle Bennett, program administrator for The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and Tony Rathburn, a professor of geology in the department of earth and environmental systems at Indiana State University.

Rathburn said people need to be prepared and aware of safety measures.

"The earthquake cottage simulator helps to educate people about the consequences of an earthquake, and demonstrates, in a very memorable way, how powerful earthquakes can be. The simulator has a limited number of places that it can visit, and we are very fortunate that it is coming to ISU," he said.

The earthquake simulator mimics the shaking experience during a real earthquake that ranges from a 5.5 to 8.0, while participants will sit in a mock living room. They see and experience the damage that different levels of earthquakes can do.

"People should attend and participate in this event in order to be more informed about earthquake safety in the Midwest, and to experience the power of an earthquake in a safe, controlled setting. Previous participants indicated that they were very surprised how much energy was generated by an earthquake. The simulator experience helps to emphasize the importance of being prepared for an earthquake," said Rathburn.

Earthquake simulator participants are also encouraged to visit the earthquake display in Indiana State's Science Building that shows real-time seismic activity on campus and includes information about earthquakes and earthquakes safety.

"Although I talk about the causes and consequences of earthquakes in some of my courses, there is no substitute for experiential learning," said Rathburn.

For more information contact Rathburn at

Writer: Beth Pickerill, media relations assistant, Office of Communications & Marketing,