Northeastern Section–41st Annual Meeting (20–22 March 2006)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM


GARRETT, Lee and REVETTA, Frank A., Geology Department, State University of New York College at Potsdam, 44 Pierrepont Avenue, Potsdam, NY 13676,

In the basement of the Geology Department housed in Timerman Hall is a newly constructed seismology-geophysics laboratory containing seismic equipment on a pier for the detection of local and distant earthquakes. The laboratory contains a long period vertical Press-Ewing seismometer, a REF-TEK 130 three component short period seismometer and an inexpensive personal short period seismometer.

The long period vertical seismometer detects earthquakes of magnitude 6 or above from around the world. The seismograms of earthquakes recorded by the long period seismometer are useful for teaching students the basic principles of seismogram interpretation. Several examples of how the seismograms of global earthquakes are used to develop classroom exercises which enable students to interpret seismograms are presented.

The three component short period seismometer provides records of the local earthquakes. The output of the seismometer is entered into a computer which provides records of local events. It is very useful for identifying local earthquakes, quarry blasts and sonic booms. Since SUNY Potsdam is located in a zone of significant earthquake activity, the instrument is most useful for verifying earthquake occurrence.

The third instrument is an inexpensive ($450.00) short period personal seismograph (PSI). This instrument contains a sensor that detects ground motion, amplifies the analog signal, filters it and converts it to a digital signal for input into a computer. The software (SEISMOM) determines distance, and magnitude of the event and produces a frequency spectrum. This instrument is very useful for teaching purposes since it enables the teacher to discuss how ground vibration is detected, and recorded.