Seismic Refraction Lab

Scott Marshall, Appalachian State University

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The following lab will introduce students to the basic concepts of seismic refraction as well as some actual data collected during seismic refraction surveys. You will use your knowledge of seismic refraction to calculate various parameters of interest.
The two travel time data sets come from an existing SERC activity by Robert Cicerone at Bridgewater State College.



This is a lab activity used in my sophmore level undergraduate introduction to geophysics course.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

To complete this activity students must have been introduced to the basics of MS Excel and the symbolic math package Maple. Also, students must have been introduced to the theory behind seismic refraction (probably covered in lectures).

How the activity is situated in the course

This is one of my weekly lab exercises.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

The goal is for students to gain practice at the theory and equations governing seismic refraction. The equations mean nothing until students are asked to play around with them. I also have several questions about the caveats of seismic refraction, which any geophysics student should understand.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

The students need to be able to use mathematical formulas to explain aspects of seismic refraction.

Other skills goals for this activity

This lab assignment assumes that students have a working knowldege of Microsoft Excel and the programming language Maple.

Description and Teaching Materials

Assignment (Acrobat (PDF) 545kB May4 12)

Teaching Notes and Tips


References and Resources

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