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Bifilar Pendulum for Measuring Earth-Tilts

Nature volume 50, pages 246249 | Download Citation



INSTRUMENTS designed for measuring movements of the earth's crust belong to two classes. The first consists of seismographs which register the amplitude and period of the rapid vibrations of earthquake-shocks, and by their records enable the velocity and acceleration of an earth-particle at any instant to be determined. The second class includes nadiranes and various forms of pendulums (such as the bifilar pendulum here described) which are, or should be, unaffected by vibrations of short period, and which indicate only slow tilts or bendings of the ground, showing the change of inclination at any spot, the rate at which it is taking place, and, if periodic the length of its period. No part of the earth, so far as we know, is free from such movements. Every day, and every year, the surface of the ground at any spot tilts forward and backward through a small angle, perhaps not exceeding a small fraction of a second. Sometimes regular pulsations are observed, each a very few seconds or minutes in duration, and lasting, it may be, for hours; at other times the tilting is irregular and occasionally abrupt; but invariably it is so slight, and takes place so slowly, that without the aid of refined instruments it could never be perceived.

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  1. 1.

    , "Sur un appareil propre à l'étude des mouvements du sol." Complex Rendus, vol. xcvii. 1833, pp. 229–230.

  2. 2.

    Phil. Trans. 1891 A, pp. 572–574, 581–2: "The Mean Density of the Earth," pp. 78–80, 83–89.

  3. 3.

    British Assoc. Report, 1881, pp. 93–126; 1882, pp. 95–119.

  4. 4.

    The plane of the mirror is arranged at right angles to the plane of the suspending wire, in order that heat effects may as far as possible be eliminated. (See British Assoc. Report, 1893, pp. 300–301.)

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