The Perturbation Detector
"So how does it work?" Constantine gazed over the railing. A large pit of sand was hollowed into a semi-sphere, and centered on the pit was a massive iron ball, suspended from the rafters by a massive chain, with a spiked head touching the sand beneath it. It was completely still, and the sand in the pit looked pristine. "Movement from the earth is rare enough to where we only have guesses, but our prediction is that this will tell us the direction from where the motion began." The researcher gestured. "We've tested smaller versions of this on sand trays where motion was artificial. Should another earth motive occur sufficiently strong to shift the earth from under the weight, the pendulum will mark in the sand the direction from which it occurred. As it swings, the sand will dampen the motion, so that the longest mark will indicate the proper direction." "Interesting, but does this require such a contraption?" The Princeps glanced around. "An entire building dedicated to the task. Could a smaller detector not do the job?" "A smaller detector runs the chance of being affected by smaller motions. For example, if a cattle run was to be held outside the building. A weight of this size and scale, I have my doubts anything other than a direct impact on the pendulum could stir it to motion." The researcher frowned. "Of course, this depends on if our mathematics was correct. Thankfully, we haven't had another major motion, but this remains an experiment until a motion can prove its effectiveness beyond a doubt."
Purpose / Function
The Perturbation Detector is a massive pendulum that's been built on the grounds of the Etoile Academy. The pendulum is expected to detect motion of the earth and identify the relative strength of the motion as well as the direction from which it emanates, allowing for relief teams to be dispatched immediately, instead of waiting for runners or power-wagon message.
The pendulum's weight is suspended from a four story high rafter over a pit of sand, and the entire building is isolated from the ground level, only accessible by a bridge from an adjacent building. The base of the building is brick, with the rafters constructed of fitted stonework.
A significant motion of the earth heavily damaged the city of Gyre in 713, roughly two weeks away from the Etoile Capital City by power-wagon. Relief to the city did not arrive until three weeks after the event, as the supply caravan was dispatched from the capital only after a runner could confirm Gyre's near destruction. Shortly afterwards, a research initiative was started by the Principality of Etoile to see if there was a way to independently confirm the location of a motion remotely, and the Perturbation Detector was built in 716.
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