EARTHQUAKE EXHIBIT AND PLANETARIUM SHOW
SAN FRANCISCO — Prepare to be moved! Earthquake, a major new exhibit and planetarium show, will open at the California Academy of Sciences on May 26, 2012, taking visitors on a kinetic journey toward understanding these super seismic phenomena and how they fit into the larger story of our ever-changing Earth. Occupying the entire west hall of the Academy, the exhibit will feature a number of large-scale installations, including a walk-through model of the Earth, an enclosure for live baby ostriches (yes, there are surprising connections between earthquakes and ostriches!), an earthquake simulator resembling an old Victorian home, and an interactive space designed to teach earthquake preparedness. Concurrently, a new planetarium show will launch audiences on a breathtaking tour through space and time—flying over the San Andreas fault before diving into the planet’s interior, traveling back in time to witness both the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the break-up of Pangaea 200 million years ago, and much more.
“San Francisco—and California too—are no strangers to the awesome power of earthquakes,” said Dr. Greg Farrington, Executive Director of the Academy. “By showing visitors the science that underlies these natural events, we want to encourage preparedness and help visitors understand how the great movements of the continents have produced the landscape we call home today and the life around us.”
The 8,000-square-foot Earthquake exhibit will be located next to the Rainforest dome and will continue the new Academy’s tradition of light-filled, airy exhibit spaces integrated with live animals and public programs. The exhibit will run for several years.
Following its first two award-winning productions, Fragile Planet and Life: A Cosmic Story, Morrison Planetarium will premiere an earthquake-themed planetarium show on May 26 in conjunction with the exhibit, narrated by Emmy-nominated actor and Bay Area native Benjamin Bratt.
“Our all-digital planetarium has the ability to present complex topics—such as earth processes and the slow march of geological time—within a very visual, immersive environment,” said Ryan Wyatt, Director of Morrison Planetarium and Science Visualization. “The new show harnesses the latest techniques in data-driven visualization to help visitors understand earth processes and think differently about living on our dynamic planet.”
Starting at Point Reyes in Northern California, the show flies south along the San Andreas Fault until it reaches San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge fades away as the clock rewinds to 1906. The audience experiences an all-digital recreation of the 7.9-magnitude earthquake, followed by a scientific dissection of the event—including views of the underground fault plane and the propagation of seismic energy waves based on supercomputer simulations. Guests then embark on a high-speed tour of the past 200 million years, witnessing the formation of the Atlantic Ocean, flying over the cradle of humanity in Africa’s Great Rift Valley, and visiting sites of historic earthquakes in India, China, and Japan—including the 9.0-magnitude Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. A planetarium presenter will bring audiences even more up-to-date during a live portion showing the latest seismic events happening around the planet—earthquakes big and small occur almost constantly. The show ends with a look at the modern building strategies used by scientists and engineers for a safer and better prepared future.
Scientific advisers and partners on the show include Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Geo Hazards International, San Francisco State University, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, and the U.S. Geological Survey. The show will play several times daily.
Watch the trailer at http://video.calacademy.org/details/487
During the summer of 2012, Academy educators will shake things up with daily programs and hands-on demonstrations on the topics of geology, preparedness, and much more. In addition, the Academy will hold an Earthquake premiere party on the evening of May 25, 2012, featuring a 1906 period theme. Visit www.calacademy.org/earthquake/party for tickets and details.