Explaining paleoseismology using the 1000 most common words only

A nice meme is currently having success in the geoblogosphere. Originating in XKCD’s up-goer five explanation of a space rocket using only the 1000 most common English words, dozens of geobloggers already explained what they are doing in simple language. Anne over at Highly Allochthonous has collected the results, and she and Chris already set up a tumblr-page for collecting the texts. Try on your own using this text editor. So, here is my job description

“Sometimes, the ground starts to shake in some areas. This is bad for houses and streets and other things and in some cases people must leave their houses or get hurt or do even die. If we knew where this shaking will happen again, we could build better houses there and people would be happy.

I try to find out where this shaking happened before and how strong the shaking was. This gives me an idea if the shaking will happen again and when it will be and how strong.
For this reason I read old books where people have written about such things and I look at old houses and check if they look like the shaking happened to them. Also, I look into the ground to see if rocks were moved by shaking during the last tens of hundreds of years. Sometimes I need the help of other people for looking deep into the ground and sometimes I use things that can help me with this.
When I know about the shaking in an area I write a book to tell other people. When the book is in the store (which can take several months) I am happy and I make a party.”

Words I really missed: earth, special, tool

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Christoph Grützner

Christoph Grützner

works at the Institute of Geological Sciences, Jena University. He likes Central Asia and the Mediterranean and looks for ancient earthquakes.

See all posts Christoph Grützner


  • Austin Elliott | 2013-01-19|18:53 (UTC)

    This is a really good one. Haha, I’m gonna have to nab some of those lines for my “elevator spiel”. I think everyone could use those last two.

  • Elisa Kagan | 2013-02-20|08:58 (UTC)

    Good on ya! Good job. Love the last two lines :).Ha, made me laugh.

  • Christoph | 2013-02-22|08:48 (UTC)


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