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Killiney Beach

BBC Coast Program – Recreating Killiney Beach experiment by Robert Mallet

The BBC Coast Program invited the Geophysics Section to provide technical seismological support for the recreation of the Killiney Beach experiments that were carried out by Robert Mallet in October 1849.  The programme includes a recording of the detonation of a small charge on the beach and its resulting shock wave registered by the DIAS data recorder. The programme can be found on the BBC website.

Robert Mallet, who is known as the Father of Seismology, carried out experiments on Killiney Beach, County Dublin, to measure the velocities of energy passing through various materials including sand, in the case of Killiney Beach, and rock, in the case of Dalkey Island. The experiments involved the detonation of kegs of gun powder buried in the sand and measuring the travel times of the shock waves at a distance of 0.5 miles. This was, in fact, the first “controlled source” seismological experiment ever to be performed in Ireland or anywhere else in the world.

Related article: Science Spin September 2009 issue

Filming by BBC on Killiney Beach

Filming by BBC on Killiney Beach

Seismogram of explosion

Seismogram recorded by DIAS of experiment