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Kathy Sykes' Diary

Day 17: Seismograph

I thought we'd wrap up the seismograph really quickly this am - but we spent AGES messing about, trying to make it better. Seemed to be missing the mark.
The problem yesterday was that the top of the clock wouldn't carry a piece of paper around and stay level. So the pen would gradually slide off the paper, as the paper tipped in the weight of the pen. We thought we'd solved it by putting a wide piece of wood on top of the clock to support the paper.

Photo: Kathy and JonathanWe'd left lots of wood to glue together overnight, thinking we'd be sorted in the morning. Instead we were back to square 1. Tried out various means and eventually soldered extra wire onto clock on to support the wire. Ended up really running against the clock. Had to leave sawmill at 11.30 - to get to quarry. J and I running till 11.35 - screwing in screws, collecting tool box, sawing up metal pipes. Crazy. Ellen busy making a wonderful tent for the seismograph. Very funny! Made us all chuckle all morning. A better tent than Mike and Mike have. Drove in van to quarry. Ate lunch - and fell deliciously asleep. Dreams about... seismographs! The guys at the quarry were all for trying out lots of bits of dynamite to find what we needed and where to affect the seismograph. J and I much keener on doing it for real - first time.

Photo: Kathy and Jonathan awaiting explosionVery exciting seeing the Mikes again and crew. They'd had a mad, lovely time. Relieved. Think they'd all got drunk and had a silly, 'boys night out'.

Really nervous about whether it would work. And the seismograph was working beautifully - near perfect circles being drawn (better than any we'd yet had!). But would the dynamite make it move? The helicopter did - blew the pen right off the paper. But it's much harder to move the arm - than move the whole earth. So... did it? Didn't it? First go - it didn't. Huge explosion - reverberating all around the valley. Not a blip on the seismograph. Damn! But - it's HARD to make the earth move! An earthquake is a whole movement of two plates - an explosion is another thing entirely. So we tried again. Eventually - the guy Grant buried a stick. Duh! We should have asked for this from the start! - dynamite lighting on TOP of the ground will do little to have an effect. Ricky - our chef - later said "Obviously the dynamite should have been buried." With a small, buried stick - we got a tiny blip - 1 mm high. By this time - it was a huge relief to get anything. Result!

But which version will Sophie (the director) use? The failure of the first go? Or the success of the last one?

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Photo: Kathy Sykes
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