Learning Exercise

Introduction to Seismology

Students will use interactive online graphics to learn about the tools of measurement, and fundamental concepts in seismology.
Course: Environmental Geology

Virtual Earthquake is an interactive Web-based activity designed to introduce you to the concepts of how an earthquake... see more


Intro to seismology assignment

There are two parts to this assignment:

1. Go to

and complete both the
P-S Time Lag and Epicenter &

After you have earned your certificate of
completion, go to Part 2.

2. Answer the following discussion questions.
Be sure to utilize the
terminology learned from the Virtual Earthquake

A. What can be said in regards to the amount of
energy that will be measured at
a seismic station that is muchfurther away from the epicenter than one that is close to the
epicenter? How will this affect the calculation of the earthquake's magnitude?

B. What factors might influence the difference
in the time of arrival of the P
and S waves? Will those factors
reduce or increase the waves' travel times?

C. What relationships can be drawn between an earthquake's
epicenter and
magnitude, and the amount of damage that a particular
structure might suffer?

D. Two adjacent structures experience the same
earthquake, but one is destroyed
while the other one is only partially
damaged. What factors may havebeen
involved in the destruction
of the structure, and what factors may have been
involved in limiting
the damage to the second?


Technical Notes

Some graphics load slowly. Helper windows open to provide the students with additional information while the larger files load in the background.


Ability to use the Internet.


Seismology, earthquake measurements, tools of measurement.

Learning Objectives

Understand the tools of measurement and their function in determining earthquake epicenters and magnitudes.