It may not be Lex Luthor's earthquake-causing missile, but the earthquake centrifuge at UC Davis in California is the next best thing. It's a giant robotic arm that can cause horrific earthquakes, all in the name of science.

This video introduces you to a range of earthquake study centers where scientists use heavy machinery to model earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as the damage they cause to human-made structures. If anything is as awe-inspiring as a natural disaster, it's a machine designed to create one.

Want to read more about educational institutions devoted to disasters? Read about some others in Popular Science.