Texas is not a state known for its earthquakes. That is, when scientists at the University of Texas wanted to study vibrations, they had to be creative. The solution is a big truck with a weight that can hit the ground. Technically, this rig is a Large Mobile Shaker, but it goes by the nickname T-Rex.
The University of Texas has five shakers of varying sizes, but this video mainly focuses on the big, bad T-Rex. It can hit the ground so fast that its heavy movement is not visible on camera. In this video, the device has to slow things down to get its point across.
The purpose of this device is for research and real-world applications. The T-Rex has the ability to place sensors on the ground. Scientists can then monitor this data to see how the fake earthquake moves around the earth. Think of it as a real-world T-Rex hitting the ground like in Jurassic Park. The weight has three shuffling methods: vertical, horizontal, or transverse. It can impact the ground up to 60,000 pounds (27,216 kilograms) in vertical mode or about 30,000 pounds in horizontal mode.
For example, the team recently went to Wyoming to analyze how an earthquake would affect a new power plant there. Scientists were able to evaluate things half a mile into the ground without needing to drill boreholes, which saved money for the people building the factories.
Unfortunately, you can’t feel the T-Rex effect in this video, but the host said it was like a real earthquake. In this clip, the weight is at the maximum setting allowed by the University of Texas. It could even be higher. Scientists say they created a 6,000-foot-long (1,829-kilometer) underground wave recently.
Part of that reason dangerous earthquake is due to soil liquefaction. Obviously, we usually walk on the ground, and it’s solid. But, vibrations can shake things up in just the right way that the earth can start to act like a liquid. Without the necessary architectural support and planning, structures in such areas can collapse.