Seismolologies

Cordula Daus

My lecture takes a close look at a series of seismic events and their accounting recordings. I will try to understand what it means to understand, to make sense, to sense into the inner of the earth: On April 19th, 1889 the horizontal pendulum of a German astronomer in Berlin-Potsdam by chance registers the first “Fernbeben” – a shaking that occurred 9000 km away in Japan. On August 16th, 1906 a strong earthquake destroys the city of Valparaiso in Chile. The needle of the only seismograph available in Santiago breaks and leaves traces of a strange dance on carbon loaded paper. In the weeks after, hundreds of lay observers describe the ways they felt the earthquake when answering an official questionnaire. On March 3rd, 2015 at 3:00 o’ clock a.m. the volcano Villarrica in the South of Chile erupts fulfilling the prophecies of a local indigenous leader. A microphone, located only 10 km from the volcano, collapses leaving the record of an infrasound. Can a volcano be “understood”? What is a seismic event – where does it start, where does it end? How do feelings correlate with words/numbers?
Based on material from a recent research in Chile, my talk will serve as a preview and first exercise on the way to my upcoming publication, Toponymisches Heft Nr. 3 (Fantôme Verlag, Berlin).