Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Discovery channel filming giant catapult in action

Discovery channel filming University of Canterbury giant catapult in action

April 9, 2014

One of the biggest documentary television channels in the world, Discovery, will be filming a University of Canterbury giant catapult volcanic research project later today.

A Discovery film crew from Canada will shoot a giant university catapult which demonstrates how drag varies as spinning rock and magma fly through the air from a volcano.

The Canterbury research group plans to test the hypothesis that flying volcanic rocks can be avoided if people face rather than run from an eruption.

Dr Kennedy says the catapult should help understanding of the impacts of volcanic hazards allowing risk during a volcanic eruption to be better managed. View a video of the catapult in action here:

Dr Kennedy is working with Dr Tom Wilson and postgraduate student Rebecca Fitzgerald along with collaborators from the Department of Conservation and GNS Science to help improve hazard maps on New Zealand volcanoes.

``Rebecca’s work started when she mapped all the impact craters that were produced by flying rocks from the August 2012 Tongariro eruption,’’ Dr Kennedy says.

``It was quite scary to see the damage these flying rocks had done to sections of the Tongariro Crossing hiking trail and the holes ripped through the Ketatahi hut.

``Following Rebecca’s mapping we now have a much better idea of the hazard rocks represent to hikers on the trail. Her data indicates that on some sections of the trail the probability of casualty reached 16 percent during the 2012 eruption.

``However, the University of Canterbury can improve models that calculate probabilities of casualty by studying how rock and magma fly through the air and impact the ground.

``Our Department of Geological Sciences built a giant catapult and a pneumatic cannon to investigate exactly what happens when a volcanic rock flies through the air and smashes into the ground.

``The Discovery channel is filming some of the first test runs of these new contraptions that can fire out rocks up to 100 metres.

``The canon investigates how much shrapnel is produced when the rock impacts the different ground surfaces and what is the consequence on human injury or death. It will be used to investigate how different roofs will be affected by being hit with flying volcanic rocks at high speeds.’’

View an explanation of Fitzgerald’s Canterbury research project here:

Later in the week the film crew will also follow the university’s rover robot which inspects damage to piles under earthquake-damaged buildings and houses and the university’s quadcopter which can safely inspect clifftop quake-shaken homes to help with earthquake recovery and damage assessment.

A Discovery channel spokesman says the university research stories will be aired on Canada’s Daily Planet programme sometime within the next month.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


DIY: Kiwi Ingenuity And Masking Tape Saves Chick

Kiwi ingenuity and masking tape has saved a Kiwi chick after its egg was badly damaged endangering the chick's life. The egg was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DOC worker with a large hole in its shell and against all odds has just successfully hatched. More>>


Trade: Key To Lead Mission To India; ASEAN FTA Review Announced

Prime Minister John Key will lead a trade delegation to India next week, saying the pursuit of a free trade agreement with the protectionist giant is "the primary reason we're going" but playing down the likelihood of early progress. More>>



MYOB: Digital Signatures Go Live

From today, Inland Revenue will begin accepting “digital signatures”, saving businesses and their accountants a huge amount of administration time and further reducing the need for pen and paper in the workplace. More>>

Oil Searches: Norway's Statoil Quits Reinga Basin

Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned oil company, has given up oil and gas exploration in Northland's Reinga Basin, saying the probably of a find was 'too low'. More>>


Modern Living: Auckland Development Blowouts Reminiscent Of Run Up To GFC

The collapse of property developments in Auckland is "almost groundhog day" to the run-up of the global financial crisis in 2007/2008 as banks refuse to fund projects due to blowouts in construction and labour costs, says John Kensington, the author of KPMG's Financial Institutions Performance Survey. More>>


Health: New Zealand's First ‘No Sugary Drinks’ Logo Unveiled

New Zealand’s first “no sugary drinks logo” has been unveiled at an event in Wellington... It will empower communities around New Zealand to lift their health and wellbeing and send a clear message about the damage caused by too much sugar in our diets. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news