Understanding Seismograms and Earthquakes


This page is all about learning how to read seismograms, however many of the links referenced cover the subject of earthquakes as a whole. For the most part it relates to earthquakes, but there are some specific volcano related materials as well.

I have divided the section into two parts, one for straight reading, and one where there are exercises for you to try. These many be paper or interactive.

Before you begin, if you know nothing of this then the description that follows may help:

Think of reading a seismo this way. Take a bobblehead on a dashboard of a car – put a pencil in it’s mouth – put a piece of paper moving past in a straight line on rollers going across moving like film in your old fashion reel camaras. ok – so your driving along on smooth pavement and all you get is a straight line going along the moving paper – then WHAM, Pot Hole – bobble head shakes violently, you get a massive spike on the paper – and then as the bobble head slows bobbling, the shakes lines get smaller and smaller until you have a flat line again. Volia! You have just read the instrument showing a quake.

Did that make sense?

Adapted from this source with the poster’s permission.

All links are to web pages unless specifically mentioned otherwise. All links open in this page unless noted otherwise.

Materials with Exercises

Reading/Viewing Materials

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