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Fernbank Science Center

Fernbank Science Center

Seismology Lab at Fernbank Science Center

Seismology (from the Greek seismos = earthquake) is the scientific study of earthquakes and the propagation of elastic waves through the Earth. The field also includes studies of earthquake effects, such as tsunamis as well as diverse seismic sources such as volcanic, tectonic, oceanic, atmospheric, and artificial processes (such as explosions). A related field that uses geology to infer information regarding past earthquakes is paleoseismology. A recording of earth motion as a function of time is called a seismogram.

At FSC a Sprengnether long period vertical seismometer sits on a concrete pier which extends three feet into the ground. Elastic earthquake waves from distant events cause the pier to move, which is detected by the seismometer. The electronic signal generated by the seismometer is amplified and recorded on a 12-inch drum seismograph. Precise time is marked every minute on a paper seismogram. Large earthquakes from around the world can be recorded.

Realtime Data From the FSC Seismometer