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October 28, 2010
By Krystal Pyatt
In case of an earthquake, where are you going to look for information? Try the new Nevada Seismological Laboratory (NSL) website. The updated website not only offers visitors what there is to know about quakes when they happen, but also information to help them be prepared and stay safe.
“Since earthquakes occur randomly, we need a website that’s flexible and fast,” Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Lab and professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno, said. “With our real-time network, and the speed in which we can upload data to the site, we can now alert people to what is happening immediately.”
The NSL, a research and public service division within Nevada’s College of Science operates the statewide seismic network. The site's “Earthquake Info” page presents the latest data on an interactive Google map. Earthquakes in Nevada and eastern California are posted within seconds of their occurrence.
“Our new website is easy to navigate; the public can find information fast,” Kent said. “It’s also easier for us to update the site quickly in case of emergencies or timely topics so the public also has timely information.”
The staff at NSL and Reno web-design company 5 Pixels created the website. Site visitors will find information vital to scientists or to someone simply curious about earthquakes. One can also delve into current research projects by faculty and students of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory, ranging from earthquake science, to geothermal exploration and even climate studies.
“There are several reasons the new website is important,” Gabe Plank, programmer and seismic analyst for the Nevada Seismological Lab, said. “Most importantly, our mission includes public service, and now people in the community can easily access information from the site. The public loves seismology, especially in Nevada. The new website fulfills our obligation to them.”
“We also have an obligation to the Advanced National Seismic System to present data in an easily accessible format,” Plank continued. “The website represents NSL's continual progress in managing data more efficiently. Lastly, the website is the face of the lab. It's the first thing that prospective students and faculty will see. Our image is very important for attracting researchers and future seismologists.”
Using the new website, the Seismological Lab can distribute earthquake locations and other real-time analyses from a network of hundreds of seismic stations in the Nevada and eastern California region. It also serves as a repository and a point of exchange for information on earthquake activity in Nevada and adjoining states.
“The new website has made a lot of things possible,” Plank said. “Soon we’ll have the ability to issue earthquake updates, like aftershocks, to smart phones and we have a centralized place to record data and issue announcements.”