Geology lab



Keywords: geology lab
Description: A highly simplified simulated recording of earthquake waves (a seismogram) can be seen to the left. Study this sample seismogram and be sure you can identify these parts: P-waves and the

A highly simplified simulated recording of earthquake waves (a seismogram) can be seen to the left. Study this sample seismogram and be sure you can identify these parts:

  • P-waves and the P-wave arrival time
  • S-waves and the S-wave arrival time
  • S-P interval (expressed in seconds)
  • S-wave maximum amplitude (measured in mm)

Note well: This seismogram is a simulation. The actual records of earthquake waves are far more complicated than what is presented here. As P and S waves travel through the earth, they are reflected by various layers of the earth (such as the core- mantle boundary). This interaction produces additional seismic waves (phases) which will be detected by seismographs. Once you successfully complete this tutorial, you will be given links to some seismology labs, where you can see real seismograms.

In order to locate the epicenter of an earthquake you will need to examine its seismograms as recorded by three different seismic stations. On each of these seismograms you will have to measure the S - P time interval (in seconds). (In the figure above, the S - P interval is about 45 seconds. The vertical lines are placed at 2 second intervals.) The S - P time interval will then be used to determine the distance the waves have traveled from the origin to that station.

The actual location of the earthquake's epicenter will be on the perimeter of a circle drawn around the recording station. The radius of this circle is the epicentral distance. One S - P measurement will produce one epicentral distance: the direction from which the waves came is unknown. Three stations are needed in order to "triangulate" the location.




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