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ERIC Number: EJ1025233
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Dec
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Teaching Geophysics with a Vertical-Component Seismometer
van Wijk, Kasper; Channel, Ted; Viskupic, Karen; Smith, Martin L.
Physics Teacher, v51 n9 p552-554 Dec 2013
Earthquakes are some of the more dramatic expressions of the dynamics of our planet. The sudden release of stress built up slowly by tectonic or volcanic processes often has far-reaching consequences, and can be measured (in classrooms) around the world. This is one reason why designing and building seismometers has been a popular activity, and why different versions of "Seismometer in Schools" projects thrive in the United States, Australia, and Europe. We present a cheap, robust, and easy-to-build seismometer--called the TC1--to measure seismic displacements in the vertical direction. Its components are easy to obtain and assemble, yet the resulting instrument is accurate enough to record earthquakes from around the globe. The parts list and building instructions of the TC1 seismometer are freely available online. Alternatively, a complete kit can be purchased for around US$300. Assembling the system naturally introduces students to a number of concepts in physics and engineering, while upon completion seismic recordings trigger discussions about the dynamics and internal structure of the Earth. The discussions are fostered by service learning and shared in the network of TC1s called the Z-NET.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A