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Catch the vibes: Lecture series presents scientific talk on vibrations in rock formations

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The Moab Information Center will continue its Free Lecture Series in collaboration with the Canyonlands Natural History Association with a virtual question-and-answer session led by Dr. Jeffrey Moore on “Vibration and the Lifecycle of Natural Arches: Decoding the Language of Stone.”

Moore, a recipient of a CNHA grant, is an assistant professor of geology & geophysics at the University of Utah. Moore and his team research rock arch dynamics in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, funded by the National Science Foundation and the University of Utah and with permission from the National Park Service.

“So many people are drawn to these landforms for their beauty and appreciate them as beautiful, static features,” Moore told the Moab Sun News. “But I want to present them as also dynamic features that are constantly in motion, constantly alive with vibrational energy that humans can’t naturally experience with our senses.”

Millions of people travel across the country and world to see Utah’s natural arches and rock formations. Moore will explain how these iconic arches are actually constantly in motion, influenced by geometry and other material properties to emanate a vibration unique to each arch.

“Something that was unexpected for us and turned out to be really interesting and motivating was when we started to take these ambient vibration records, record sound with seismometers and pick them up so these sounds can be experienced,” Moore said. “These sounds are a very literal translation from the rocks themselves and bring these small vibrations into the realm of human senses.”

Monitoring and measuring these vibrations is a non-invasive, safe way to determine the health and structure of arches, towers and more around the Moab area.

The measurements of ambient vibrations in Moab’s most famous rock formations will be reported to conservation and public safety experts to improve access to and safety around these geological landmarks.

“Arches, towers and other rock landforms vibrate with a set of resonant frequencies which, when you translate them into sound, creates this sound print unique to every land form,” Moore said. “I try to think about this as a voice. My goal now is to try to share this voice with people.”

The free lecture will be held on Thursday, July 22 from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the Moab Information Center, located at 25 East Center Street. The event will take place in the auditorium. After a short video from Moore about rock formations and their vibrations, Moore will be broadcasted via Zoom to answer audience questions.

What: Free lecture: Vibration and the Lifecycle of Natural Arches: Decoding the Language of Stone.

When: Thursday, July 22 from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Where: Moab Information Center (25 East Center Street, Moab)

For more information, call the Moab Information Center at 435-259-8825