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Deep Rumblings

Deep Rumblings
By France Griggs Sloat

Down in the catacombs of Lindner Hall sits an instrument that once made the University the center of international attention—a seismograph. Built in the early 1900s by a Russian prince, the 16-inch cube with a glass case on top is the lone remaining remnant of the seismograph station that was once located in Schmidt Hall.

When the earth shook under southern Ohio in March 1937, the machine spit out the answer: a 5.0 magnitude earthquake. When University professor Victor Stechschulte, S.J., oversaw the station, he used the machine to confirm the existence of deep quakes 360 miles beneath the surface.

The station opened in 1927 and was part of a unique cluster of stations at nine Jesuit universities around the country. They were the first network of seismology in the nation. Xavier’s station closed in 1972 and was eventually relocated to John Carroll University, leaving the University with a dusty piece of recording history.

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