Earthquake Basics

  • 6 Number of Resources

3-Component Seismogram Records Seismic-wave Motion
Time: 2m 55s / Level: Novice

We use exaggerated motion of a building (seismic station) to show how the ground moves during an earthquake, and why it is important to measure seismic waves using 3 components: vertical, N-S, and E-W. Before showing an actual distant earthquake, we break down the three axes of movement to clarify the 3 seismograms. 

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Seismograms: Illustrated Guide to Reading a Seismogram (USGS)
Time: 4m 26s / Level: Novice

This USGS video provides a tutorial for anyone interested in interpreting the seismic records on public webicorder displays. Seismometers measure vibrations. More vibration… more wiggle. Some seismometers measure only up and down; some measure up-down, north-south, and east-west motion. 

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Human Wave: Modeling Seismic Waves in the Classroom
Time: / Level: Novice

How can I get across the idea in a classroom activity using no props?

The human wave is used as an analogy for travel times of P and S seismic waves.
This draft video uses arms over shoulders as well as hand holding methods, so read the caveats about the best method (arms over shoulders). 

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Seismic Slinky: Modeling P and S waves in the classroom
Time: / Level: Novice

A video demonstration of how a slinky can be a good model for illustrating P & S seismic waves movement.

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Take 2: Can Earthquakes Be Predicted? (Part 1)
Time: 2m / Level: Novice

For an earthquake prediction to be meaningful, it has to specify a time, location, and magnitude range that is unlikely to occur randomly.  Who can predict an earthquake? 

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Take 2: Can Earthquakes Be Predicted? (Part 2)
Time: 2m / Level: Novice

Seismologists would love to be able to predict a major earthquake. Watch Part 1 to learn what is required. This animation compares an earthquake to a heart attack. 

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