Take a look at this video describing the giant earthquake simulator at the University of California at Davis. It uses centrifugal force to simulate the stresses that materials will undergo in a real earthquake.
The sixty-foot centrifuge at UC Davis can spin a five ton payload at up to 75 gravities, allowing the study of the stresses on accurate scale models. A cool new table lets you do much more accurate simulations of earthquakes.
I suppose that this device is good for scientific experiments, but wouldn't you rather simulate the destruction by earthquake of an entire city to see the big picture? And what about the destructive effects on the people in the city, an area of research completely neglected by the giant centrifuge researchers at UC Davis?
Thankfully, this work has already been done by our friends at MGM studios more than thirty-five years ago. Behold the trailer for the 1973 movie Earthquake!
Seabreacher, H.G. Winter's 1939 Torpoon
'Ken lay full-length in the padded body compartment, his feet resting on the controlling bars of the directional planes, hands on the torpoon's engine levers.' - HG Winters, 1939.