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Speed up geologic time with a DIY squeeze box

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Build. Observe. Play in the sand and dirt. Making your own easy-to-build squeeze box is fun for lots of different reasons, including educational ones. This Science Snacks video with Eric Muller from The Exploratorium provides instructions for building the box and experimenting with faults and folds:

Your Squeeze Box replicates geologic structures found in areas that have undergone or are undergoing compressional forces, such as regions near convergent plate boundaries…

The deformation you see in your Squeeze Box is an excellent model of what happened or is currently happening around the world due to tectonic forces. Mountain building (geologists say orogenesis) is happening in the Himalayas due to the collision of two massive continents. The Alps, Atlas, Appalachian and Rocky Mountains are all the result of compressional forces at work, uplifting mountain high into the sky. The west coast of North America, as well as all around the Pacific (the Ring of Fire), shows how compressional tectonics can plow up the ocean floor and smash land onto the edge of continents (this process is called accretion).

Study what kind of faults and folds you find, and level up the science by taking a core sample of your compressed layers with a clear straw. Learn more at

Next, check out more experiment videos on this site, including Surface tension and The Cheerios Effect, how to make fake poo, how to make simple homopolar motor ‘race cars’, how to find tardigrades, and how to make balancing sculptures.

Plus: A cliff wall full of dinosaur footprints in Spain and Why Are There Oyster Shells in the ‘Chalk Pyramids’ of Kansas?

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