When there is an earthquake, we may feel as though the world has been thrown into a state of chaos. Yet even the most violent of shifts in the earth’s crust have a sort of rhythm and order. On February 28, 2001 a magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit near Olympia, Washington. Thirty miles under the surface, the tremors shook the ground for nearly half a minute. It also had a strange and beautiful effect upon a small, sand-tracing pendulum in a shop in Port Townsend. Traced into the sand was an oddly beautiful pattern resembling a rose.
The discoverers of the Earthquake Rose originally sent the photos to a couple of geologists and seismologists. Somewhere along the line, the emails were forwarded to friends and coworkers, and the story of the Rose spread across the world. The smooth curves on the outside of the rose depict the normal movements of the pendulum. The earthquake created the center, or “pupil” of the eye-like image, preserving the movement of the seismic activity long after it had passed.
“Our own impression is that there’s something amazing about how such a massive and very destructive release of energy can also contain such delicate artistry within its chaos.” said Norman MacLeod, one of the first to find the Rose. “We’ve had several hundred positive comments from people from all corners of the world about this unique peek at the effects of an earthquake. We were fortunate to come through this one with as little damage and injury as we did, and we hope you share our sense of awe at what beauty can come from even the destructive forces of nature.”