Monday, April 21, 2008

Midwest Earthquake Rattles Fermilab

In a comment from tonya on the previous post, Major Failures At The Tevatron, she notes that Fermilab did notify the public of the earthquake's effects on Friday through Symmetry Magazine, their joint publication with SLAC. Here's a link and quote from Symmetry/breaking (news):

"Although there were no reports of damage, scientists said they likely would have lost the particle beam inside the Tevatron accelerator if it had been running."

The same article with 2 other Fermilab seismograms were published this morning on Fermilab Today. No mention of another 4.5 aftershock that occurred just before 12:40 a.m., today, the 18th since Friday, although the initial news story said there were dozens. Hopefully Symmetry Magazine will detail these later on, as they have done with thunderstorms at Fermilab and other human interest and science stories, including progress reports on the LHC. It's a great publication. And you don't have to be a physicist to read it.

The Accelerator Update, with a link on Fermilab Today, is offline, as the author is away until later this week. Should tell us a lot. No reports of damage can still mean a whole lot of trouble, like when your computer crashes. Luckily a disaster was averted because the Tevatron wasn't running. But how can you anticipate earthquakes? What happens if you run out of luck? The damage at the giant LHC, when it's running during an unplanned earthquake, could be devastating or maybe astronomical, if some theorists are right.

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