Virtual Earthquake

Gary Novak, Geology Labs On-Line, California State University

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Virtual Earthquake is an interactive web-based program designed to introduce the concepts of how an earthquake epicenter is located and how the Richter magnitude of an earthquake is determined. Virtual Earthquake shows the recordings of an earthquake's seismic waves detected by instruments far away from the earthquake. The instrument recording the seismic waves is called a seismograph and the recording is a seismogram. The point of origin of an earthquake is called its focus and the point on the earth's surface directly above the focus is the epicenter. You are to locate the epicenter of an earthquake by making simple measurements on three seismograms that are generated by the Virtual Earthquake program. Additionally, you will be required to determine the Richter Magnitude of that quake from the same recordings. Richter Magnitude is an estimate of the amount of energy released during an earthquake.

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Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Structural Geology:Geophysics and Structural Geology, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics
Resource Type: Audio/Visual:Maps, Activities:Problem Set, Audio/Visual:Images/Illustrations
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16), High School (9-12), College Lower (13-14)
Topics: Solid Earth:Structural Geology:Geophysics and Structural Geology/Earthquakes/Seismic Reflection Profiling, Human Dimensions/Resources, Chemistry/Physics/Mathematics
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Structural Geology, GeophysicsKeywords: Earthquakes, Seismograph, Seismogram, Epicenter, Richter magnitude, S waves, P waves, S-P interval, Seismic waves, l