One more thing that occurred to me is that experiencing the feel of these quakes is good preparation for the real thing. It is hard to respond effectively to the unfamiliar; easier if you have already gone over in your mind the sounds and sensations that you will probably experience. Amanda Ripley, in her truly excellent and gripping book “The Unthinkable,” describes various real disasters and discusses how the simple act of knowing what you will do before the unexpected occurs can make a crucial difference in the outcome. I imagine that not just knowing what you will do, but also knowing what you will likely be experiencing, will help save those extra few seconds that are better spent responding than freezing like a deer in the headlights.
Other nice aspects of this exhibit were the planetarium show in which you can see cool simulations of the continents drifting, fly through the San Andreas Fault, and be part of a very realistic CGI simulation of San Francisco’s Market Street in the early morning as the 1906 quake was hitting; and also the real live ostrich chicks running around in the pen as an example of the speciation that has occurred due to tectonic plate movement.
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