9 Awesome Exhibits from the 2018 Lamont Open House

by |October 18, 2018

For decades, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has been opening its doors to the general public during Open House. This annual celebration consists of talks by Lamont’s world-renowned experts, opportunities to connect with scientists one-on-one, and dozens of hands-on activities and experiments for kids to learn about how our planet works.

Click through the slideshow below to see some highlights from the this year’s Open House, which took place on October 13.

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Professor Heather Savage and postdoc Rob Skarbek show visitors how friction controls earthquakes. Inside, the machine squeezes three plexiglass blocks together horizontally, while also pushing the center block downward vertically. Meanwhile, polarized light helps to visualize the different stresses applied by the machine. The center block demonstrates a “stick-slip” fault; instead of sliding down at a constant rate, it alternates between sliding abruptly and remaining stationary. Skarbek explains: “On a given fault, most of the time earthquakes are not occurring, this is the ‘stick’ phase on that fault. When an active fault is stuck, stresses build up on that fault until the next earthquake occurs, relieving some of the stress.” Normally the team uses this machine to do experiments with rocks and ice that help them to understand earthquakes and how glaciers and ice sheets slide around. Photo: Phebe Pierson

Explore more exhibits in the videos below.

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