GeekMom Home Experiment: Can You Spot an Earthquake?

Geek Culture

From Seismograph from Aug. 23, 2011 Virginia Earthquake

I have now experienced two earthquakes in my life, the first on July 16, 2010, the same morning my son was born, and again yesterday, August 23, 2011. I never thought that living on the East Coast that I’d ever rock the way that I did today. My two-year-old thought that he was on a roller coaster, and loved it. On the other hand, my heart was pounding for hours after the quake.

I know that I always love looking at the scientific data after an earthquake, especially looking at seismograph strips where you can see where the earth moved and each subsequent aftershock. A seismograph is an instrument used by seismologists (earthquake scientists) to record the strength or intensity of earthquakes. Seismologists use a seismograph recorded strip to determine the intensity of the initial quake (5.8 on the Richter scale) and its subsequent aftershocks. Seismologists can also gather more information from a seismograph than just intensity; they are trained to analyze all of the bumps and movements to determine what kind of tectonic movement caused the quake, whether it is a dip slip fault or a strike slip fault.

Building a home seismograph is pretty easy. (Not to mention it will give your kids something to do if school has been cancelled because of East Coast Quake 2011.)

[See all the directions for making Helene McLaughlin’s home seismograph at GeekMom!]

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