Geologist to monitor effects of controlled demolition near former city council HQ

University geologist Dr David Hawthorn will be setting up equipment near the former city council HQ to record the effects of the controlled demolition of the site planned for this weekend.

Dr David Hawthorn is a seismologist in our Department of Geology.

He says: “The University of Leicester houses the UK’s national facility of Earthquake monitoring equipment for academic research – SEIS-UK.

“Our equipment is normally deployed abroad studying events like this summer’s volcanic eruption in Iceland. We’re lucky enough to have a few sensors available here at Leicester in-between projects, so will be using them to monitor the controlled demolition occurring on Sunday.

“One sensor will be deployed in a basement less than 200m away from the detonation, and the other in the University (about 1km away).

“When the building collapses low energy seismic waves will ripple out from the building. While most people won’t be able to feel these waves, the equipment is sensitive enough to be able to accurately measure it. We hope to look at the energy the demolition event will put into the ground, and how that decays as the wave travels to the University.

“Modern Seismic equipment is so sensitive that these energy waves could be detectable tens of miles away. If that happens, Sunday’s event will also be recorded on the British Geological Surveys network of permanent monitoring equipment but having sensors deployed so close to the actual detonation in Leicester will provide valuable extra information.

Dr Hawthorn stressed the demolition was not expected to cause any damage and the use of the highly sensitive monitoring equipment  was simply in order to measure it.

Data and results from the monitoring will not be available until Monday.

View the controlled demolition of Leicester City Council Offices below: