USArray Seismic Wave Visualizations: Educator Information


USArray animations show how the ground responds when seismic waves from worldwide earthquakes sweep across more than 400 sensitive seismograph stations of (USArray), the seismologic component of the EarthScope Program. Each animation has a map of the active USArray grid at the time of the earthquake. These animations are a creative use of the data being received by this unusually dense array of monitoring stations that were deployed as a means to "image" the roots of our continent. This notes document can help educators to give context to the animations.

USArray Seismic Wave Visualizations: Teacher Information (Acrobat (PDF) 3.2MB May17 18)


These animations could be used as part of a unit on earthquakes and seismic data as an example of how geoscientists are working to better understand the structure of our Earth, particularly the North American continent. Learners should already know about P, S, and surface seismic waves.

Teaching Notes

  • It is often helpful to play the animations more than once.
  • If you run an animation all the way to the end, you will have a chance to show how seismic waves also travel "around the long way" as viewers watch the seismic waves sweep in from other direction.

Reference Information

EarthScope Consortium logo. Concentric circles in red grading to purple.