Emergency response plan
Following a major earthquake in southern California some years ago, one of the seismological laboratories there decided to investigate the expected aftershock sequence. They got permission to establish an array of seismometers on a large ranch near where the earthquake had occurred. The seismologists set up the array which fed signals by wires into a large, wrist-sized cable that led into a portable recording van.
They soon got everything working, and signals were humming into the van to show the occurrence of many small aftershocks and some large enough to be felt. Then, suddenly, all the signals ceased. Seeking the cause of the termination, the seismologists went outside the van to find a woman standing with axe in hand beside the seismograph cable which she had just chopped neatly in twain. Defiantly, she explained "we've had enough earthquakes around here lately without you guys making any more."
A similar approach to the problem has been reported by California seismologist Bruce Bolt. In his book Earthquakes? A Primer, he tells of a handyman at the seismographic station in the Bahamas. During a strong earthquake in 1965, the man drew out his pistol and shot the jittering seismograph in an attempt to quell the violent ground motion.