Davis Hall displays weather patterns, earthquakes


Students using Davis Hall’s north entrance encounter two systems that monitor weather patterns and earthquakes.

The geography department is responsible for the weather display, provided by the National Weather Service, that displays current radar data, said Walker Ashley, assistant professor of geography.

“The radar is located in Davenport, Iowa, and scans the skies across most of eastern Iowa and northern Illinois,” Ashley said.

The radar displays precipitation distribution throughout the area in the recent hour, Ashley said. It displays any warning or watches in effect for severe thunderstorms and tornados, he said.

Andrew Krmenec, professor and chair of the geology department, said the weather system is known as the Paul Avon display and has been in Davis Hall since about 1990.

“Paul Avon was a meteorology student before he was tragically killed, and his family donated a small amount of money to the department after we suggested that we would be willing to honor his memory with a weather display,” Krmenec said.

The Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences displays a seismometer that monitors earthquakes around the DeKalb area and world, said Philip Carpenter, professor of geology and environmental geosciences.

“The sensor is located in the basement and it records any kind of ground movement,” Carpenter said.

The NIU Foundation provided a grant for the display for the use of educational purposes, Carpenter said. He said the seismometer has been in Davis Hall for nearly 20 years, and the digital system has been in for two years.

Carpenter said the seismometer recorded an earthquake in 2004 in DeKalb.