Puerto Rico’s Iconic Arecibo Observatory Closed by Main Earthquake

HONOLULU — Workers at Puerto Rico’s iconic Arecibo Observatory are monitoring the ability for potential harm within the midst of a spate of earthquakes rocking the island.

The strongest of these quakes was a 6.four temblor early within the morning of Tuesday (Jan. 7). An preliminary survey performed by drone after that occasion discovered no harm to the huge radio dish or the gear above it, an Arecibo Observatory consultant stated right here on the 235th assembly of the American Astronomical Society on Tuesday (Jan. 7).

Nonetheless, security protocols imply that observatory personnel cannot look at the dish or its equipment till the bottom stops shaking, and it is tough to foretell when that can occur.

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The earthquake swarm arrived simply as Arecibo Observatory was making ready to embark on a 12 months filled with repairs to wreck brought on by Hurricane Maria, which battered Puerto Rico in 2017. The observatory has been conducting science work within the wake of the storm, however the brand new knowledge has not been of the identical high quality as that gathered earlier than the hurricane.

Then, on Dec. 28, 2019, the bottom began shaking. Based on a press release launched by the U.S. Geological Survey, the world has skilled greater than 30 earthquakes of magnitude four or stronger since that date; the identical time interval has subjected the area to greater than 500 smaller shakes. The company added that the federal authorities repaired earthquake sensors after Hurricane Maria and has additionally shipped extra detectors to the island for the reason that swarm of quakes started.

Arecibo Observatory is likely one of the key amenities within the U.S. for monitoring close by asteroids. That work depends on taking pictures such area rocks with a radar beam, then measuring the sunshine that bounces again. Such observations can inform scientists about an asteroid’s measurement, form and composition, giving planetary protection consultants a greater sense of whether or not the rock poses a collision threat.

Electronic mail Meghan Bartels at mbartels@area.com or comply with her @meghanbartels. Comply with us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.

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