Shake tables excite model structures as if they were being subjected to an actual earthquake. One of the more useful aspects of a shake table is that they can test structures in order to record points of failure; this model in particular shows how buildings of different heights react to movements at different frequencies of shaking. The demo is also used to show resonance of structures during earthquakes of varying intensity.


The liquefaction demonstration models how saturated versus unsaturated land behaves during an earthquake. Students use two machines, one filled with sand saturated with water, and one filled with just dry sand, to demonstrate the effects. Liquefaction occurs in soils which have their void spaces (spaces between individual particles of soil) occupied by water. This exerts water pressure on the soil. The phenomenon of liquefaction results in great damage during earthquakes. During earthquakes, the water pressure causes soil to slide more easily- which leads to the soil losing its foundational strength.


The rotating tank is an accessible tool used to model the otherwise large-scale fluid dynamics of ocean circulation and weather phenomena observed on rotating planetary bodies. With the help of various dyes and objects, modeled phenomena include the formation of hurricanes, jet streams, eddies, and fluid flow over barriers. Even with the application of chaos or disturbances, predictable patterns can be observed given corresponding conditions.


This demo shows the Coriolis Effect, i.e. is the deflection of an object due to inertial force. The inertial force is one that acts on objects that are in motion, relative to a rotating frame (such as a ball being thrown on Earth’s surface). If the frame is moving in a clockwise motion, the force deflects to the left of the object; if the frame is moving in a counterclockwise motion, then the object deflects to the right.


The great whale table is a large but shallow circular rotating tank that functions the same way as the Fluid Dynamic Rotating Tank. It is much more open than the regular tank therefore easier for students to interact with and simulate the phenomena performed on the rotating tanks.


Experience space weather with UCLA's Planeterrella, a specially designed plasma generator that simulates the auroral lights, electric currents, and magnetic fields that connect the Sun and Earth. This is a unique opportunity to see plasmas and magnetic fields up close; these electrified gases make up over 99% of the matter in our solar system and the universe. Learn more about space weather, Earth's magnetic force field, and the solar wind, which can pose serious hazards to our society's electrical, communications, and satellite infrastructure.

Mineral Display

Learn about rocks and minerals with our traveling mineralogy display which covers the hardness scale, crystal structure, optical properties, mineral colors, and UV fluorescence.


This tank is used to demonstrate the effects of temperature and salinity on density stratification of ocean water, as well as the interaction between wind-driven circulation and gravity-driven circulation in surface water mixing.


LEGO-based tables that demonstrate planetary fluid motions using rotating tanks of fluid and food coloring.


The Sunspotter is used for viewing the sun, eclipses, and transits. Track sunspots as they appear, move, and vanish. Useful for group viewing, the Sunspotter allows several observers to simultaneously see the sun’s disk and quickly trace the changing positions of sunspots and compare them on a daily basis.

Augmented Reality Sandbox

The UCLA EPSS Augmented Reality Sandbox is a visual-tactile teaching tool used to enhance classroom lectures on topographic mapping and basic geological and hydrological concepts. Mountains, canyons, and lakes can be sculpted and overlaid with elevation contour lines, and even filled with virtual rain and floods. As a hands-on science demonstration, it has immense appeal for public outreach, as well as landscape design and artistic inspiration. On campus use only, limited availability.