A Plate Under Pressure

The Pacific Northwest of the United States is awaiting a major earthquake. The North American Plate is being compressed like a giant spring by the plate pushing underneath it. Just like last time in 1700, when it releases it’ll be a major earthquake and tsunami event. It’s unstoppable, but that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare.

This exhibit at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon explains the tectonic principles, engages in a conversation about preparedness models and presents cutting-edge earthquake sensing methods being implemented throughout the world.

By tracking small movements of the earth’s plates through GPS technologies we are both improving our ability to understand earthquakes and communicate when they’re occurring to save life and property.

Produced for UNAVCO, a National Science Foundation research contractor providing GPS systems and data to earth scientists

Work included content development/research, exhibition design, interactive design and production, graphic design, illustration, construction administration and build contracting.


Hatfield Marine Science Center


Newport, OR



Higher Education

Interactive Media


Science | Natural History | Technology


Pacific Studio, Seattle:
Fabrication Partner

The earth’s skin deforms much like stretchy fabric. In order to satisfy the Science Center’s desire to reduce the video interactives, Studio Tectonic invented a digitally printed fabric that stretches to show how seismic sensors shift in position as the earth is deformed during an earthquake event. This simple to understand low-tech solution helps visitors activate the change themselves, thereby more clearly understanding the input/reaction relationship.