When an earthquake struck in Tonga last month, pupils at a Scottish school knew about it before the event hit the headlines. Dunblane High is one of three schools piloting the UK School Seismology Project in Scotland and has been given a seismometer by the British Geological Survey. The instrument has been developed with the Science Enhancement Programme and is capable of detecting earthquakes from small local tremors to major ones on the other side of the world.
Now, thanks to sponsorship from bodies such as the Scottish Oil Club, The Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain, and Edinburgh and Glasgow universities, more schools can receive a free seismometer and other teaching materials.
"The sheer amazement of detecting these tremors from places such as China, Pakistan and from the UK never fails to produce a wow factor" said a project spokeswoman.
The project was launched in Edinburgh on April 1 by the British Geological Survey and Keith Brown, Scotland's Minister for Schools and Skills.