Is it Possible to Build an Earthquake Machine?

Engineering genius Nikola Tesla figured out how to do a lot of impressive stuff like harness electricity and get cars to crank up. But did he really create a small mechanical generator that could produce earthquakes on demand? Tesla invented a machine consisting of pistons and air springs that turns a central linear rod. He claimed that, when attached to objects, this device could send vibrations through them at the precise frequency needed to literally shake them apart in much the same way an earthquake would. In physics terms, the earthquake machine supposedly could match an object’s resonant frequency, or the vibration speed that naturally accelerates its oscillation rate. To see if Tesla was all talk, the MythBusters rebuilt the earthquake machine using an electromagnetic linear motor. They then attached the 5-pound device to a bridge and adjusted the frequency of the motor’s linear revolutions to match the structure’s resonant frequency. As seen in “MythBusters: Earthquake Machine.” Find out what happened. Learn more from the Discovery Channel’s MythBusters.

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