Visualizing Seismic Waves for Teaching and Research

The seismic waves in this animation were computed using a grid of more than 100,000 synthetic seismograms computed across a grid of mantle locations for a 600-km-deep earthquake. A suite of animations were computed for educational purposes and are available at Details
A hybrid online/face-to-face workshop running February through April, 2011, with a follow-up meeting at the Fall, 2011, AGU meeting

Registration for this workshop is closed.

Remarkable new advances in visualizing seismic waves now provide exciting opportunities for teaching and learning in the areas of geophysics dealing with earthquakes, earth structure, and seismic wave propagation. Following the Understanding Deep Earth workshop in 2010, participants recommended that new collections of visualizations were needed to help students (and colleagues in related geoscience disciplines) to understand the underlying principles of seismology, to visualize what earthquake waves look like as they propagate through Earth, and to be able to work with seismograms and the comprehensive seismological data that are now available via IRIS , EarthScope (more info) , and SCEC .

Please join us for this hybrid workshop to help develop a comprehensive collection of visualizations and lessons involving seismic waves that can be used throughout the geoscience curriculum, from introductory courses through upper division courses for undergraduate and graduate students.

Quake Catcher Network software allows the 3-component seismograms of an accelerometer (either built in to a laptop or from an external usb-port stand-alone accelerometer) to be displayed on a computer. Details
Workshop 2011

During the winter of 2011, a virtual workshop was held in 6 two-hour sessions (Wednesdays, 12-2 Central Time) to help the seismology community identify, develop, and organize a comprehensive collection of visualizations (graphics, animations, Java applets, simulations, lab exercises) that facilitate learning about seismic waves, their properties, the information they convey, and how they are used for a wide variety of applications.

Workshop participants then had the opportunity to meet as a group at the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting (December 5-9, 2011) to showcase their workshop products. There was a half-day workshop prior to the meeting and a poster session during which participants shared how well their new materials worked in the classroom.

The traditional way of showing seismic wave propagation, by geometrically tracing waves through the earth. This method has the advantage of directly showing the paths of individual parts of the wave front, but the disadvantage of not showing the amplitudes or what the wave would actually look like at any given time. Details
Related Resources for Teaching about the Deep Earth

During the Cutting Edge "Teaching about the Deep Earth" workshop, held online during the spring of 2010, several activities, graphics, and links were identified and created that may provide a helpful reference for the current workshop on visualizing seismic waves:
  • Teaching Activities - Activities for homework, class, and lab submitted by college faculty from across the country
  • Visualization Collections - Graphics, animations, videos and more for use in teaching Deep Earth concepts
  • Topical Resources: Links to sites, teaching activities, and references related to specific Deep Earth topics. Includes resources associated with presentations at the 2010 workshop.
  • Internet Resources - Research results and teaching materials relevant to teaching about the Deep Earth

Email List

Join the discussion on the Teaching about the Deep Earth Email List or view the list archives.

Workshop Conveners

David Mogk, Montana State University
Michael Wysession, Washington University in St. Louis

This workshop is part of the On the Cutting Edge professional development program for current and future geoscience faculty, and is sponsored by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers with funding provided by a grant from the National Science Foundation - Division of Undergraduate Education .

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