Tag Archives: seismology for beginners
Student Seismology Research Station – Seismometer and Magnetometer Recording Via Computer Sound Card
One cannot ordinarily record earthquakes via a computer sound card as they don’t respond much to the slow vibrations experienced in earthquakes. (Update: not strictly true. See my latest on this: Simplest Seismometer – Experiments with direct recording through PC sound card) However, with some cheap electronic trickery and clever software, it can be done, and very adequately for the purposes of study. The seismometer above, made by a high school student, in its first night of testing recorded this local 3.8 quake – a magnitude 1 in Taipei:
(click on the pictures for larger versions)
and as a surprise bonus, some filtering of background noise revealed this distant quake as well. It was a 5.9 from 1000 km away in the Philippines.
In my search for educational projects that can engage a kid’s interest, I recently began looking into seismology (from Ancient Greek, “seismos”, an earthquake and “logia”, study of.)
Being a rather high-tech subject, I was skeptical of my chances of reducing it to something kids could do, but I gave it a shot anyway, since it’s very applicable here in Taiwan, where earthquakes average a couple a day. (You can see them on this website: http://www.cwb.gov.tw/eng/index.htm )
The goal was to come up with some kind of a detector; the simplest and cheapest design possible that a student could plug into a computer and record real earthquakes. Although still in progress I wanted to share what I’ve done so far as it’s a fascinating field and full of good, observable data that will give anyone a deeper understanding of the planet we live on. Continue reading